Blitzbokke call on Baby Boks

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 08:36
Paul-treu-media Kyle-brown-h_s Cecil-afrika-7s
They could not have asked for a more daunting challenge

Injuries to several key players have forced Springbok coach Paul Treu to make three changes to his squad for the forthcoming Sevens World Series tournaments in New Zealand and the United States.

The Wellington Sevens tournament takes place on February 1 and 2 in the New Zealand capital and will be followed by the Las Vegas event a week later.

Regular captain, Kyle Brown (ankle), playmaker Cecil Afrika (knee), Branco du Preez (hamstring), Steven Hunt (ankle) and Ruwellyn Isbell (soft tissue neck injury) are all unavailable because of injury.

Those vacancies have now opened the door to, amongst others, the two 19-year-old debutants in Justin Geduld and Seabelo Senatla.

The promising pair, also currently part of the SA Under-20 training squad, both recently signed two-year contracts with SARU to play for the Springbok Sevens.

Pieter Engelbrecht was furthermore preferred over Bernado Botha, who was part of the squad in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.

Treu said his youthful looking squad is looking forward to the Wellington challenge.

"The New Zealand tournament is most probably the toughest test of the entire World Series," explained Treu.

"The host country, along with Fiji and Samoa, always get massive support from the crowd, which makes it extremely difficult for the other teams.

"We will have three 19-year-olds - Geduld, Senatla and Cheslin Kolbe - in our travelling squad, so from that perspective it is very exciting and I am delighted for the youngsters.

"However, they could not have asked for a more daunting challenge, and it will be up to them to prove themselves against strong opposition."

The Blitzbokke are the top seeds in Pool C and will compete against Wales, Samoa and Canada for one of two qualifying spots on offer for the Cup quarterfinals.

They leave for New Zealand on Friday.

South Africa: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne (captain), Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks, Pieter Engelbrecht, Justin Geduld, Stephan Dippenaar, Paul Delport, Cheslin Kolbe, Tshotsho Mbovane, Seabelo Senatla.