Kwagga set to become a BlitzBok

Thu, 05 Dec 2013 12:00
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Albertus “Kwagga” Smith will make his BlitzBok and IRB Sevens World Series debut in the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

Albertus “Kwagga” Smith will make his BlitzBok and IRB Sevens World Series debut in the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, which will take place in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

Smith’s inclusion is one of two injury-enforced changes to the 12-man BlitzBok squad for their home tournament.

Steven Hunt replaces Jamba Ulengo while Kwagga Smith will make his IRB Sevens World Series and Springbok Sevens debut

Smith replaces Stephan Dippenaar while Steven Hunt comes in for Jamba Ulengo. Dippenaar (hamstring) and Ulengo (foot) were injured last week in Dubai, where South Africa finished as runners-up to Fiji.

Smith, a Junior Springbok, comes in for his debut tournament after he has been part of the South African Sevens Academy and the wider Springbok Sevens training group for the past two years.

The Golden Lions flank is very familiar with the Springbok Sevens set-up and should slot in easily. He was one of the standout players for the South African Sevens Academy playing under the banner of the Samurai Internationals, who won their Dubai Invitational title for a fourth successive time last weekend.

Hunt is a Springbok Sevens contracted player and regular series squad member, who last played at the Gold Coast Sevens, where South Africa placed fourth.

Veteran forward Frankie Horne, meanwhile, has been declared fit and will play in his 53rd World Series tournament, a unique World Series record.

South Africa is currently third on the series log behind New Zealand and Fiji, and will be hoping to not only close the gap but also to add to their single home title, which they won five years ago in George.

Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, said his team hope will be aiming to maintain their form they showed in Dubai last week.

“Consistency is key for us and we will therefore look to keep our focus and do really well on day one. Our management and players know very well the importance of this tournament and the expectations of our home supporters,” said Powell.

Commenting on the changes, Powell said: “Kwagga has been with the SA Sevens Academy for some time now and he had a good outing in Dubai last week, so he deserves his chance. Steven should also slot in with ease because he is a world series regular for us.”

BlitzBok squad: Chris Dry, Phillip Snyman, Frankie Horne, Albertus Smith, Sampie Mastriet, Kyle Brown (captain), Branco du Preez, Steven Hunt, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe.

BlitzBok fixtures on Saturday:

12.50: Canada
16.18: Spain
19.58: Kenya

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Team P W D L Pts
Argentina Sevens 9 0 0 0 92
Wales Sevens 9 0 0 0 91
France Sevens 9 0 0 0 73
Scotland Sevens 9 0 0 0 48
United States Sevens 9 0 0 0 41
Kenya Sevens 9 0 0 0 40
New Zealand Sevens 9 3 0 0 167
Fiji Sevens 9 3 0 0 161
England Sevens 9 1 0 0 135
Samoa Sevens 9 1 0 0 133
South Africa Sevens 9 0 0 0 125
Australia Sevens 9 0 0 0 112
Canada Sevens 9 0 0 0 33
Spain Sevens 9 0 0 0 19
Portugal Sevens 9 0 0 0 18