Blitzboks prepare for European leg of the World Sevens Series without two key players

JOHANNESBURG — After leading the chase for the 2017/2018 World Sevens Series title for 7 of the 10 tournaments, the Blitzboks finally surrendered their lead to the Fijians in Singapore. The South Africans have battled with injuries throughout the season, but have managed to make the semi-finals of every one of the tournaments so far. The difference is that Fiji have been winning tournaments (4 in total so far) while South Africa have won just 1 tournament (the opener in Dubai). On current form, it’s a two-horse race for the title between South Africa and Fiji with two tournaments to go – London, England (Twickenham from 2-3 June) and Paris, France (Stade Jean-Bouin from 8-10 June). Coach Neil Powell has a long injury list with the hope that most of those on the list will recover in time. But he’s certainly without two big names – Kyle Brown and Tim Agaba. South Africa are drawn in the same group as Canada, Russia and Samoa for the London tournament. – David O’Sullivan

From SA Rugby

The Springbok Sevens team will be without key forwards Kyle Brown and Tim Agaba when they re-assemble in Stellenbosch on Monday for the final two tournaments of the 2017/18 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, in London (2-3 June) and Paris (8-10 June).

Brown, their most experienced squad member, will undergo knee surgery next Tuesday to repair ligament damage sustained in Singapore last month. Agaba’s season was also cut short due to a bicep injury.

Springbok Sevens team. Image published courtesy of Twitter @Blitzboks

The Blitzboks are currently second on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series log after eight tournaments. They trail Fiji by three points and will have all to play for as they aim to defend their series title. Neil Powell’s side made the top four in all eight tournaments thus far this season, pointing to their consistent performances since the opening tournament in Dubai in December last year.

South Africa will contest Pool D at the HSBC London Sevens, along with Samoa, Canada and Russia and if they make it into the Cup quarter-finals, they could meet either Fiji, New Zealand, Scotland or Argentina, all drawn in a highly competitive Pool A.

Australia, Wales, Spain and Ireland will play in Pool B, with the latter being invited as 16th team. The hosts, England, will face Kenya, USA and France in another competitive pool.

Branco du Preez, who had an ankle strain, and Ruhan Nel, Justin Geduld and Philip Snyman, who were rested for the Singapore event, will all be integrated back into training next week.

Speedsters Rosko Specman (shoulder) and Selvyn Davids (hamstring) are currently recovering injuries and are in a race against time to be considered for the final two events.

There was a bit of good news on the injury front though with Chris Dry, who underwent knee surgery in December, recovering well as he aims to be ready for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco from 20-22 July.


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