Blitzboks boss adds Notshe to Australasia trip
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has included Stormers loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe to the squad for the next two Sevens Series tournaments in Sydney and in Hamilton.
Notshe has been named as the replacement player to travel with the team. The flank, who joined the squad in October, will return to Super Rugby upon his return, as will three other squad regulars, Tim Agaba (Bulls), Albertus Smith (Lions) and Seabelo Senatla (Stormers).
Meanwhile, Dylan Sage and Stedman Gans have also been recalled.
Sage missed the tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town due to a back injury. Gans, who last played for the Blitzboks in Singapore last season, after making his debut at the 2017 Las Vegas tournament, was part of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy team that won the Sudamericarugby Sevens tournaments in Uruguay and Chile in the last fortnight.
Sage, a regular starter in the 2016/17 season, replaces Chris Dry and Gans comes in for Branco du Preez. Dry picked up a season-ending knee injury at the Cape Town Sevens and Du Preez injured a hamstring in training last week.
"We made the call to take Sikhumbuzo along as reserve player in order for him to get the first-hand experience of what a World Series tournament is all about and he will be called upon if anyone picks up an injury," explained Powell.
"Dylan has been training solidly over the last couple of weeks, while Stedman was in very good form for the Academy side in South America, so I am expecting solid contributions from them next weekend.
"We are losing four players to their Super Rugby teams after the Hamilton tournament, so we need a strong tour in order to stay in contention for the overall title,"
The Blitzboks are currently second after New Zealand on the overall World Series log. They are the defending champions in Sydney and will face Papua New Guinea, Spain and England in Pool C of the tournament, which starts on Friday, January 26.
Philip Snyman, who will be playing in his 50th World Series tournament for the Blitzboks, will again lead the side. They depart for Sydney on Saturday.
South Africa Sevens: Tim Agaba, Philip Snyman, Dylan Sage, Albertus Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Stedman Gans, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Sikhumbuzo Notshe.