Reshuffled SA ready for NZ Sevens challenge
Paul Treu has announced a reshuffled squad for this weekend's Hertz Sevens, the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Regular captain Kyle Brown is out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle while influential playmakers Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez, as well Stephen Hunt, have not travelled with the squad for the tournament in Wellington, as well as round five in Las Vegas next weekend.
Veteran forward Frankie Horne will lead the team in a record-breaking 45th consecutive World Series tournament for the Springboks Sevens, while Treu will also turn to seasoned internationals such as Chris Dry and Paul Delport to provide the leadership for an otherwise young group of players.
The absence of several injured stalwarts have meanwhile opened the door for two more youngsters, Justin Geduld and Seabelo Senatla, to make their HSBC Sevens World Series debuts for South Africa.
The two 19-year-olds and Cheslin Kolbe are also part of the current South Africa Under-20 training squad.
“The youngsters offer us a lot of options and they bring a different kind of energy, so from that aspect I am very pleased,” explained Treu.
“We have worked hard on creating opportunities and our tries tally so far this season is proof of that. We have scored more tries and conceded less than the teams that are above us on the log, but the difference between us and the frontrunners at the moment is that they have managed to win those crucial matches on day two when it mattered.
“Our team has spoken a lot of those small margins for error and if we can manage to keep our focus throughout and keep on creating opportunities, then we will be a threat here (in Wellington) and Las Vegas."
Treu's side (who finished third at the Gold Coast and in Port Elizabeth) currently occupies fourth place on the World Series Standings with 41 points, 19 behind leaders New Zealand and three behind third-placed Fiji.
As top-seeds in Pool C, the South Africans will get their tournament underway on Friday morning against powerful Samoa, one of the crowd-favourites at the Westpac Stadium, followed by matches against Canada and Wales.
SA Sevens squad: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne (captain), Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks, Pieter Engelbrecht, Stephan Dippenaar, Justin Geduld, Paul Delport, Cheslin Kolbe, Tshotsho Mbovane, Seabelo Senatla