Mzwandile Stick, who last year set the Sevens circuit alight with his boot, returns to the Springbok Sevens side for the remainder of the IRB Sevens World Series. The eight-tournament Series resumes in Hong Kong next week after a short break for the Sevens Rugby World Cup in Dubai recently. Coach Paul Treu yesterday announced his team that shows only 2 changes forced on by injuries. Stick returns in place of the injured Gio Aplon while new-comer Chase Minnaar will make his debut in the Green & Gold in place of Paul Delport who also suffers from a knee injury.
The Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens is widely regarded as the biggest and most popular event on the Sevens Circuit. However, the title is also coveted by all the teams as it also offers 30 points instead of the usual 20. With South Africa and England sharing the spoils at the top of the log after 4 tournaments, the winner of the 3-day tournament will definately take a big leap up the table.
Paul Treu expressed his satisfaction at their preparation in an interview on Sport24 this week. “I am pleased at the response of the players during the training sessions and especially during the warm-up matches. We have worked really hard at what we believed were the shortcomings in Wellington, San Diego and Dubai.
“We are still joint leaders (with England) on the Series log and the guys are hungry to repeat the two good performances at these tournaments last year,” said Treu.
Those of you who were in the stands at So Kon Po last year will remember the disappointment when the Bokke were defeated in a highly-charged Cup Final by New Zealand. South Africa had a blistering start to the 2008/2009 season and after disappointing displays in Wellington (NZ), San Diego and the Dubai RWC, we all hope that the hunger to put in a huge display has returned and that a maiden Hong Kong title will be added to those hard-fought victories in George and Dubai last year.
The full Springbok Sevens side is: Mpho Mbiyozo, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne, Kyle Brown, Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel, Mzwandile Stick, Vuyo Zangqa, Ryno Benjamin, Robert Ebersohn, Lionel Mapoe and Chase Minnaar.
Captaincy duties will be shared between Mpho Mbiyozo, Neil Powell and Mzwandile Stick.
The Springboks leave for Hong Kong on Sunday.
Welcome Chase Minnaar!