CAPE TOWN – Dewald Human and Mfundo Ndhlovu will replace the injured Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez in the Springbok Sevens squad for the HSBC Paris Sevens on 9-10 June at the Stade Jean Bouin in the French capital.
Afrika (hamstring) and Du Preez (shoulder) will return to South Africa for treatment. Human and Ndhlovo will fly out to France on Monday. Human made his debut for the Blitzboks in Paris last year and captained the side to Hong Kong in March, where they won bronze.
Ndhlovu, who debuted in Hong Kong earlier this season, will join the squad as a 13th player. Stedman Gans, who travelled to London as the official reserve, was promoted to the starting squad.
Afrika and Du Preez played in 61 tournaments respectively for the Blitzboks and are South Africa's leading points' scorers of all time. Afrika has amassed 1430 points in 318 matches for his country and Du Preez has 1162 points in 305 matches.
Leading Blitzboks try-scorer, Seabelo Senatla, meanwhile said the team will come back stronger following their 21-17 defeat to Fiji in the HSBC London Sevens final.
Senatla made a return to the Blitzboks in London after doing Vodacom Super Rugby duty and played off the bench as part of his reintegration. He scored a memorable try against Samoa on the first day at Twickenham and added his 221st try for the team against England in the Cup semi-finals on Sunday.
“Sevens is all about scoring when you have opportunities and Fiji did that better than us,” said Senatla. “We will work on that and come back a stronger team in Paris. We would like to get another shot at them and turn the tables.
“My return to the squad was good; the coach managed me well. It was the right thing to start with Shakes (Siviwe Soyizwapi), as he is playing well this season and I was happy to play off the bench. Now the focus will be on Paris and to finish the World Series on a high.”
The Blitzboks trail Fiji by seven points and will need some luck in the running of the event in Stade Jean Bouin if they want to retain the title. They face Canada, Russia, and Scotland in Pool B of the tournament. Fiji only need to reach the semi-finals in Paris to wrest the title away from South Africa.
Blitzboks start their campaign @Paris7s in Pool B against @Scotlandteam 🏴 at 10:06 Saturday morning 09 June followed by @russiarugby 🇷🇺 at 13:02 and @RugbyCanada 🇨🇦 at 18:30. All SA Times. pic.twitter.com/q51ki3Vvr6
African News Agency (ANA)