JOHANNESBURG — What a luxury for Blitzboks coach Neil Powell. In selecting his squad of 12 for the Cape Town Sevens this weekend, he had no players out through injury and no players out of form. He goes with the same players who won the opening leg of the World Sevens Series in Dubai. If there is any pressure on Powell, it will be the overwhelming expectation of victory for the reigning World Series champions at home. The players have spoken of the huge disappointment in losing to England in last year’s final in front of a capacity crowd at the Cape Town Stadium. This year, the stadium will be packed to capacity once again with the two-day tournament having been sold out for months. The bookies have the Blitzboks as the overwhelming favourites to win at 3/4. Next best are Fiji at 33/10, the losing finalists in Dubai New Zealand are 8/1 and defending champions England are 10/1. An estimated 115 000 people, most of whom will be in fancy dress, will be at the stadium to watch the CT Sevens – an event which is expected to inject more than last year’s figure of R432 million into the local economy. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell rewarded the 12 players who won the opening tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai when he named an unchanged squad for the highly anticipated HSBC Cape Town Sevens on Wednesday.
The tournament takes place in the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday and Sunday and tickets were sold out in a matter of hours after they went on sale a couple of months ago.
“All the players would love to play in their only home tournament on the circuit, so the result at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens made it easy for me to pick the team,” said Powell.
“Everyone returned fit from that tournament and will have the added motivation of playing in front of a very supportive home crowd.
“Siviwe travelled to Dubai as captain of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad, which gave him the opportunity to get some playing time. He performed very well there and he will slot in easily, should one of our players pick up and injury which rules him out of the tournament.”
Powell admitted that he was feeling slightly nervous as the tournament approached, but he is comfortable that his squad prepared well.
“We needed to fine-tune a couple of things that we did not execute well in Dubai,” said Powell.
“This we did that and still have two training sessions left this week, so we have to ensure the players are mentally ready for the big event.”
South Africa will play Russia, France and Kenya in Pool A of the competition on Saturday.
Culture gets thrown around a lot, and often gets confused with good vibe. Vibe is part of culture but not all. Blitzboks culture is way more than vibe. Brutal hard work, challenge of each other, humility to learn and constant search for improvements. Can learn from them in rugby
— Tom Dawson-Squibb (@TheSportingMind) December 3, 2017
The Springbok Sevens team for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens:
- Chris Dry (63 tournaments, 304 matches, 455 points, 91 tries)
- Philip Snyman (captain, 48 tournaments, 213 matches, 306 points, 55 tries)
- Tim Agaba (11 tournaments, 55 matches, 45 points, 9 tries)
- Kwagga Smith (28 tournaments, 141 matches, 290 points, 58 tries)
- Werner Kok (30 tournaments, 148 matches, 360 points, 72 tries)
- Kyle Brown (59 tournaments, 291 matches, 395 points, 79 tries)
- Branco du Preez (56 tournaments, 281 matches, 1079 points, 79 tries)
- Rosko Specman (22 tournaments, 117 matches, 278 points, 50 tries)
- Justin Geduld (31 tournaments, 158 matches, 684 points, 76 tries)
- Cecil Afrika (54 tournaments, 279 matches, 1322 points, 152 tries)
- Seabelo Senatla (34 tournaments, 173 matches, 980 points, 196 tries)
- Ruhan Nel (22 tournaments, 110 matches, 187 points, 37 tries)
- Siviwe Soyizwapi* (12 tournament, 57 matches, 175 points, 35 tries)
- Cecil Afrika is South Africa’s all-time leading points’ scorer in the World Series – 1322 points
- Seabelo Senatla is the all-time leading try-scorer for the Blitzboks – 196 tries
South Africa’s schedule for Saturday, 9 December is (SA kick-off times):