Powell to tweak and experiment with SA sevens team at Oktoberfest7s
JOHANNESBURG – Neil Powell named a strong and experienced South African side to travel to Germany next week for the Oktoberfest7s in Munich on September 21 and 22.
Siviwe Soyizwapi will lead a team laden with players that represented their country in the World Rugby Sevens Series in the past seasons, with the two most experienced players in the country, Branco du Preez (71 tournaments) and Chris Dry (69 tournaments), included for the trip to Europe.
There is also a return to action for Zain Davids, Mfundo Ndhlovu, James Murphy and Stedman Gans, all of whom were injured in the latter part of the 2018/19 World Series.
South Africa are in Pool A with New Zealand, England and Australia for the tournament, which will take place in the Olympic Stadium. Pool B consists of Germany, Fiji, USA and France.
Powell said the squad reflected the status of his training squad at the moment as he was limited in selection.
“We have guys coming back from injury, we have some experienced campaigners and we have some young guys keen to make their mark and could be stars in the future,” said Powell.
“Some of the players who were involved with their provinces in the recent Currie Cup and age-group competitions were not yet considered, while Cecil Afrika and Justin Geduld are still in rehabilitation from injuries sustained last season.
“Players like Mfundo and James have not played much for us during the previous season, so this is a nice early opportunity for them to stake a claim for the new season. They are coming back from injury and will be eager to get involved.
“I am very happy with the squad though and keen to see how we go in Munich,” the coach explained.
Powell plans to use the German tournament to experiment on small technical changes: “There are a couple of tweaks we are implementing and I want to see how they work out for us.
“We are still in a conditioning phase, so we know we will not be as sharp as we can be, but that is not the end of the world. We are building towards the start of the season, so if there are mistakes, it will be a good pointer for us,” said Powell.
The SA Sevens squad for Munich:
1 Chris Dry, 2 Ryan Oosthuizen, 3 Impi Visser, 4 Zain Davids, 5 James Murphy, 6 Mfundo Ndhlovu, 7 Branco du Preez, 8 Selvyn Davids, 9 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Dewald Human, 11, Siviwe Soyizwapi (capt), 12 Stedman Gans.
African News Agency (ANA)