Blitzboks stalwarts return to stake a claim for Olympic glory

The lure of an Olympic medal is massive. It’s so special that a number of former Blitzboks who have been plying their trade with varying degrees of success in Super Rugby have decided to rejoin the 7-man game for the upcoming season. While the money will certainly be better in the longer form of the game, the chance of playing at the Greatest Show on Earth in Tokyo next year has attracted some of the superstars of the game. The fight for places in Neil Powell’s squad for the 2019/20 season will be furious and the coach must be rubbing his hands in gleeful anticipation. His squad for the warm-up tournament next week in Munich contains many of the players who battled hard to earn South Africa third place in last year’s World Sevens Series and get that automatic qualification to the Olympics. Now players of the calibre of the Stormers’ Seabelo Senatla (the Blitzboks all-time top try-scorer and 3rd most prolific points scorer) and Ruhan Nel, and the Bulls’ Rosko Specman and Dylan Sage make a return to Sevens. These four players are among the best in the South African game. Then throw into the mix the big, fast Hacjivah Dayimani from the Lions, one of the most mobile of loose forwards, and South Africa can field a team that will be difficult to beat. Be prepared for a marvellous Sevens season with the Blitzboks. – David O’Sullivan

From SARugby

Hacjivah Dayimani joined the Springbok Sevens squad on Monday as the wider Blitzboks training group converged at their base at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport to start preparation for the 2019/20 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The 21-year-old Emirates Lions star was joined by Blitzboks regulars, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Muller du Plessis and Angelo Davids, who all re-aligned with the squad after a season with their various provinces where they played in the Currie Cup and age-group competitions.

Dayimani last played sevens for the South African Under-18 team that won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in 2015 and hopes to be part of the squad to contest the opening tournaments of the new series in Dubai and Cape Town in December.

“I came here for two reasons,” said Dayimani, “the first is to improve as a rugby player and I believe adding the skills required to play sevens will make me a better fifteens player as well.

“The other is to make the Blitzboks squad that will play in the opening legs of the World Series. I also will try my best to make the squad that will travel to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.”

The speedy looseforward loved his time in Sevens as a junior player and said he is keen to re-introduce himself to the game: “The one thing about sevens I love is the one-on-one contests. In fifteens you can make a mistake and get away with it or someone can cover for you, but sevens are brutal in that regard. If you miss a tackle, you leave a gap. I also love the space the game offers,” Dayimani said.

The first day back in camp was spent with medicals and other testing, but Dayimani said he already felt very welcome.

“I am the new guy here, but everyone immediately made me feel welcome. They treated me as if I have been here 10 years and that is awesome. I am very keen to be part of this group,” he said.

The team to travel to the Oktoberfest7s in Munich on Tuesday was forced into a late change after Ryan Oosthuizen was withdrawn due to a back strain. He will be replaced by Sako Makata.

The revised SA Sevens team for the weekend’s Oktoberfest7s is:

  1. Chris Dry
  2. Sako Makata
  3. Impi Visser
  4. Zain Davids
  5. James Murphy
  6. Mfundo Ndhlovu
  7. Branco du Preez
  8. Selvyn Davids
  9. Kurt-Lee Arendse
  10. Dewald Human
  11. Siviwe Soyizwapi (c)
  12. Stedman Gans

Management: Neil Powell (coach), Hugh Everson (physio), Ashley Evert (manager).

Schedule for Saturday, 21 September:

15h06: New Zealand

17h29: England

20h14: Australia


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