Pace and power in BlitzBok squad
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Four of the most experienced Springbok Sevens players were included in Neil Powell's 13-man squad that will travel to Dubai for the opening tournament of the 2016/17 World Rugby Sevens Series.
Kyle Brown (56 tournaments), Chris Dry (52), Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez (45 each) have all been included in the BlitzBok squad for the Dubai Sevens on December 2 and 3, while another stalwart, Philip Snyman (37 tournaments) was named as captain of the side.
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy side, on the other hand, will have a number of new faces to the senior sevens set-up, as Academy Manager, Marius Schoeman, looks to grow the depth of his group with some talented youngsters.
It will be a 10th visit to The Sevens Stadium for Brown, with Dylan Sage and Siviwe Soyizwapi the only players not to have donned the Blitzboks colours at this iconic venue in the Arabian Desert before.
Soyizwapi will travel to Dubai as standby player in a revised World Rugby squad structure that allow an additional player to the squad, in case of injury. Powell could not pick the injured Tim Agaba and named Sage as a forward for this trip.
"Dylan has played as a forward for us before and did very well there in our recent warm-up tournament in Namibia, so I am very happy to name him in the front line," Powell explained.
"He might not be the most experienced in that position, but we have a number of stalwarts in the pack. Kyle, Philip and Chris are some of the most experienced players ever in our squad, so I am pretty confident that they will guide Dylan through any potential potholes."
The coach added that his squad shows maturity and experience and with him extending his contract for another four years, a fair amount of consistency.
"No doubt, we will be one of the most experienced sides in Dubai," said Powell.
"This group of players have won a couple of tournaments in the past, but as we realised at the end of the previous season in our final against Scotland, you cannot relax for one second. So experience only really counts when you combine that with faith in your structures and your best effort on the day."
The BlitzBoks will face Scotland again in pool play, as well as Uganda and USA in their other matches next Friday.
Springbok Sevens squad: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman (captain), Dylan Sage, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Ruhan Nel, Seabelo Senatla, Siviwe Soyizwapi.
SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad: Ryan Oosthuizen, Stephan Dippenaar, Zain Davids, Robbie Louw, Impi Visser, Wayne van der Bank, Selvyn Davids, Malcolm Jaer, Diederik Oberholzer, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Joel Booysen, Stedman Gans.