Whiteley, Kriel to boost Blitzbokke
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Cape Town - They won the Cape Town Sevens in glorious fashion, and now the Springbok Sevens side is set to be strengthened even further by Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel.
The Blitzbokke defended the South African leg title of the World Sevens Series for a second year in a row as they beat Argentina 29-14 in the Cup final at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday night.
With over 106 000 people at the event over Saturday and Sunday, the South African team recovered from a lacklustre first day to storm to the trophy with some thrilling play on day two, where they defeated Australia, France and Argentina.
The next tournament takes place in Wellington, New Zealand on January 30-31 next year, and the Blitzbokke received a tough draw, with hosts New Zealand, Scotland and Russia alongside them in Pool A.
So they will need the strongest possible team to try and win the Wellington tournament for the first time, especially with World Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok out for six months with a knee injury.
And while they already had 15s Springboks Juan de Jongh and Francois Hougaard in the mix in Dubai and Cape Town, the Lions’ outstanding loose forwards Whiteley and Kriel have been earmarked to play in Wellington and Sydney, which is a week later.
“There are two guys that we will get in for Wellington and Sydney, yes. Juan and Cheslin (Kolbe) are two guys we plan to pick in Wellington and Sydney, and we will send out emails on Tuesday to find out from the Stormers if that is still the plan!” Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell said.
“As you know, there are coaches who still need to be appointed, so we have to check if the plan is the same with them as it is with us. Then we hope to get in Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel involved in Wellington and Sydney.”
And Bryan Habana and Damian de Allende, who are based in France and Japan at the moment, could turn out for the Blitzbokke soon as well as part of the plan to have the strongest possible squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics next August.
“We cannot throw in eight new guys all at once, so we’ve spaced it out during the season and when they are available. We have looked at when the Super Rugby franchises have byes, so that there’s as little disruption to them as possible,” Powell said.
“There is a plan for Bryan and Damian, and the unions have signed off on those plans. We will stay in contact with everyone to ensure the plan remains the same.”