Gans no longer a Blitzbok reserve

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:37
Large stedman gans blitzboks trains 800

SEVENS SPOTLIGHT: Stedman Gans, who travelled to the USA as the reserve player, has been promoted to the 12-man team for the Vancouver Sevens from March 11-12.

Gans replaced Justin Geduld for the Las Vegas Final after the playmaker picked up an ankle injury and was ruled out of the Vancouver tournament.

Sandile Ngcobo has been drafted into the squad as the official reserve player for the Canada event and will provide cover to the starting 12-man squad and fills the void left by Gans' promotion.

The travelling reserve has been introduced into the World Sevens Series for 2016/17 as part of the player welfare initiatives and has proved its worth for the Blitzboks already in the season.

Ngcobo travelled with the squad earlier in the year as back-up for the Wellington tournament, but then had to return to South Africa after a family bereavement. His replacement for the Australian leg of the tour, Stephan Dippenaar, got a playing opportunity when Werner Kok was injured and even scored a try in the Sydney Sevens Final against England.

Gans also sat on the bench against the USA and Fiji on the final day in Las Vegas, but did not take to the field.

The coach was excited for Gans, who could feature in pool play on Saturday when South Africa takes on Chile, Kenya and England.

"We had a clear objective to blood the next generation of Blitzboks and Stedman falls into that category. He works hard, is willing to learn and presents something exciting for the future," Powell said of the 20-year-old.

Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, said he feels for Geduld, but accepted early in his coaching career that injuries are part and parcel of the game.

"We had our share of injuries already this year. We lost Tim Agaba and Carel du Preez in a pre-season tournament, then Kyle Brown in Cape Town and Cecil Afrika before travelling to Wellington and Sydney.

"Werner Kok could also not play on the second day in Australia and now Justin [Geduld] had to return home. On top of that, Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga [Albertus] Smith moved to the Super Rugby competition, so our depth has been tested, but on the plus side, every injury creates an opportunity for another player to show his worth," said Powell.

Powell was pleased for Ngcobo.

"'Stix' [Sandile Ngcobo] is a great squad member and although not always in the travelling group, someone who keeps on motivating the rest of the guys and training hard. You cannot win the World Series with only 12 players and we are fortunate to have players like him around as our back-up," he added.

Springbok Sevens: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman (captain), Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez, Stephan Dippenaar, Stedman Gans, Cecil Afrika, Rosko Specman,
Ruhan Nel, Sandile Ngcobo (reserve).

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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