Treu hands Small-Smith Bok Sevens debut
Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu has handed an international debut to another promising teenager after he included William Small-Smith in his 12-man squad for the last two HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments later this month in England and Scotland.
Three Springbok Sevens squad members were selected for the South Africa Under 20 team set to compete at the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy, while injury to two more regulars forced Treu to make several changes for the season climax at Twickenham and Murrayfield.
Craig Barry, Tshotsho Mbovane and Paul Jordaan will represent the Baby Boks in Italy, while Pieter Engelbrecht (broken nose) and MJ Mentz (hamstring) were not selected because of injury.
Steven Hunt returns in place of Engelbrecht and Bernado Botha replaces Mentz.
After a steep upturn in form, the Springbok Sevens currently lie fourth in the World Series standings and the team will be looking to maintain that momentum, which took them to the USA title in Las Vegas, the Plate trophy in Hong Kong and the runners-up medal in Adelaide last time out.
Nineteen-year old Small-Smith is a former Grey College and SA Schools captain and also led the SARU High Performance Under 18 squad last year against England in Port Elizabeth.
The teenager, who can play centre and wing, will become the sixth youngster to make his international debut for the Springbok Sevens this season, following Mark Richards, Lubabalo Mtembu, Boom Prinsloo, Paul Jordaan and Tshotsho Mbovane.
“The team has a familiar look despite the changes," said Treu. "The players, even the relative newcomers, are all very familiar with our playing style and our approach, which means that they should be able to slot in easily.
“I’m particularly pleased for the inclusion of William. He is a bright prospect and his inclusion is reward for consistent hard work the past season with the squad. The youngsters before him have made the most of their chances and he now gets the opportunity to do the same.
“We played some good Sevens rugby during our last three tournaments and the team will be looking to maintain that form and to end the season on a positive note.
"One of our main objectives this season was to give as much playing opportunities as possible to the newcomers in the squad and I’m pleased to say that we achieved that."
Treu's squad leaves on Monday 16 May for London from the Cape Town International Airport.
Springbok Sevens squad for London and Edinburgh: Chris Dry, Kyle Brown (c), Frankie Horne, Neil Powell, Boom Prinsloo, Branco du Preez, Paul Delport, Cecil Afrika, Sibusiso Sithole, Steven Hunt, Bernado Botha, William Small-Smith.