Yesterday we reported about the loss of Springbok Sevens Captain Mzwandile Stick just three days before the side departs for Adelaide. Late yesterday afternoon, SARU confirmed Stick’s disappointing FaceBook revelation.
Mzwandile Stick, the team’s stand-in captain and hero of last season’s successful World Series campaign, sustained a knee ligament injury on Wednesday in Stellenbosch. The injury means the experienced Stick will be sidelined for two to four weeks, forcing him out of the Australian Sevens tournament in Adelaide as well as the annual showpiece Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens a week later.
Springbok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, has called up JW Jonker, one of the young contracted players, to replace Stick.
Bags packed. JW Jonker (Pic: SARU)
The versatile young Free Stater can play either in the forwards or in the back-line.
“It’s a major blow for the team,”said a disappointed Treu. “I was looking to someone like Stick and also the other senior players to guide the newcomers like Sampie Mastriet and Chris Dry, who are 19 and 21-years old respectively.
“Stick is an important decision maker in the team and his leadership qualities will be missed,”explained Treu.
So far this season long-term injuries have robbed the Springbok Sevens team of the services of Neil Powell, Renfred Dazel and Paul Delport – all key members of last season’s World Series winning squad.
As a result, the team has struggled to compete with the likes of New Zealand, England, Samoa and Fiji and currently finds itself in seventh place on the World Series log.
After his storming performance at the Las Vegas Sevens, BlitzBokke.com named Kyle Brown as our Springbok Player of the Tournament. Coach Paul Treu has obviously taken note of the youngster’s development and also believes that the UCT player has the leadership qualities to lead the Springbok side. Treu yesterday announced that Kyle Brown (23) will lead the SA Sevens team for the first time during the Adelaide and Hong Kong tournaments.
New Skipper Kyle Brown (Pic: SARU)