Kolbe, De Jongh crack Rio squad

Thu, 14 Jul 2016 09:22
Large cheslin kolbe blitzboks 800

NEWS: Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe are the only 15-a-side players to have cracked the nod in the Olympics bound South African Sevens team.

De Jongh has played in 14 Test matches for South Africa's 15-a-side team, while Kolbe is uncapped in the 15-man game - although he has been part of the Springbok training squad.

The other 10 places went to regular Sevens players.

Those who can regard themselves as unfortunate to have missed the cut - given that there were only 12 places - include Chris Dry, Ryan Kankowski, Branco du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Ruhan Nel, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Bryan Habana.

For a player like Hougaard it is a double blow - having also missed out on being selected for the 15-a-side World Cup squad last year.

He will now continue his career with the Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership.

Kyle Brown will captain the squad that will compete as part of Team SA - as rugby returns to the Olympics 92 years since the 15-man format was last played at the Olympics, in 1924 in Paris.
 
Current World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Werner Kok was included in the team after he missed out in all of the 2015/16 World Series following a knee injury.

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell stuck to most of the regulars that helped the BlitzBoks to second place in the overall World Series.
 
This include forwards Tim Agaba, Philip Snyman and Albertus Smith, who was named in World Rugby's Dream Team at the completion of the World Series along with speedster Seabelo Senatla.

The wing will be joined by former World Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld and Rosko Specman at the back.

All-rounder Dylan Sage also secured a trip to Rio with strong performances in the last couple of tournaments.
 
"It was really tough finalising the 12-man squad presented to SASCOC," Powell admitted.
 
"I could have picked three different teams and all would have been very competitive, but unfortunately, only 12 can go.

"We have named Francois Hougaard and Chris Dry as back-up players that will travel to Rio as well, but they will be staying outside the official village.
 
"I want to thank all 23 players that contributed this year and the final 19 who really worked hard towards a common goal.

"That said, we are not done yet and will have to work hard in the remaining 20 days or so to fine-tune our play.
 
"We are all excited about this as it does not come bigger than the Olympics, but also realise that there will be expectations for us to perform.

"We can only give our best and hope we can justify the great support we are getting from the public.
 
"We are not thinking medals, but rather on how to execute on our first match on day one of the tournament. We will focus on what we do well and that will hopefully bring the desired results."

South Africa Sevens: Cecil Afrika, Tim Agaba, Kyle Brown, Juan de Jongh, Justin Geduld, Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe, Dylan Sage, Seabelo Senatla, Albertus Smith, Philip Snyman, Rosco Spekman.

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