With three of their more experienced teammates in the side for the England and Scotland Sevens, the Springbok Sevens side boarded their plane with high hopes today. Mzwandile Stick and Neil Powell both returned to the fold after injury while Sevens legend Fabian Juries was included after Bok Sevens coach Paul Treu came to an arrangement with Western Province Rugby where Juries is contracted.
Stick missed the previous two tournaments in Hong Kong and Adelaide with a knee injury and the play-maker is eager to help his team to a strong finish. With his coach already in the UK, the former skipper had this to say:
“We set high standards for ourselves and are not happy with our performances so far this year. However, all is not lost because we managed to blood some exciting youngsters who really made an impact, such as Cecil Africa, Branco du Preez, Sampie Mastriet and Steven Hunt. Those players now have a full season of international Sevens behind them and they will be even better next season, which will be of great benefit to the team.”
With Juries and also Powell back in the fold again, the team will be aiming at their first Cup semi-final despite facing a difficult group.
“The likes of Samoa, Australia and Kenya have all improved a lot since last year. Adding to that, the traditional strong teams like Fiji, New Zealand and England will obviously be keen to end on a high, so we can brace ourselves for two tough weekends,” explains Stick.
The BlitzBokke will face Fiji, Canada and France in the England Sevens pool stages while they will have to overcome the likes of New Zealand, Italy and Russia in Edinburgh where they were crowned World Series champions last year.
The Springbok Team for the final two tournaments of the IRB Sevens World Series are:
Mpho Mbiyozo, Chase Minnaar, Frankie Horne, Cecil Afrika, Neil Powell, Kyle Brown, Fabian Juries, Ryno Benjamin, Chris Dry, Mzwandile Stick, Hoffman Maritz, MJ Mentz.
Have ticket, will fly!Pictured before departure: (Back) Chase, Chris, Kyle, Frankie, Hoffman & Mzwandile. (Front) Cecil, Team Manager Sebastian Primm and Fabian. (Pic: Canterbury SA FaceBook)
Alles van die beste, Manne!/All the best, Guys!
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