Key changes for NZ and SA Sevens in London
Kurt Baker and Belgium Tuatagaloa are the latest two players to be ruled out of this weekend's Marriott London Sevens for New Zealand.
Having already lost Ben Lam and Scott Curry for the season finale at Twickenham after suffering injuries on day one at the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, Baker and Tuatagaloa have sustained foot and ankle injuries respectively.
Curry broke a bone in his hand, while powerful wing Lam has a broken foot, forcing coach Gordon Tietjens to already send for Matt Faddes, who played in Hong Kong and Tokyo, and Warwick Lahmert, who last played at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.
Tietjens has now also called up David Raikuna, who last played for the All Blacks Sevens in Las Vegas, and 18-year-old Tevita Li.
The Glasgow Sevens champions South Africa have also had to replace a fourth player, with Steven Hunt suffering ankle ligament damage.
Paul Treu's side have won three of the last four Cup titles, beating the 2012/13 Series champions New Zealand in each of them, but have also lost the services of Seabelo Senatla, Justin Geduld and Paul Deport.
Senatla and Geduld are joining up with the Junior Springboks squad in Stellenbosch to prepare for the IRB Junior World Championship in France later this month, while Paul Delport has been replaced due to an injury sustained at Scotstoun Stadium on Sunday.
Star playmaker Cecil Afrika, Bernado Botha, Tshotsho Mbovane debutant Werner Kok will join the Springbok Sevens team ahead of the ninth and final round of the HSBC World Sevens Series to be played on11-12 May.
Afrika has been declared fit following a knee strain and comes in for Senatla, whilst winger Kok, who was part of the DHL Western Province team that won the Absa Under 19 Provincial Championship in 2012, will replace his outside centre in that team, Geduld. Botha last played for South Africa on home soil at the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens in December and replaces Delport.
Both Senatla, Geduld and Delport were in fine form as South Africa beat New Zealand to clinch round 8 of the Series in Glasgow, so the loss is a blow for coach Paul Treu.
“We are obviously very happy to have Cecil back,” said Treu. “He is a great player and motivates the rest of the team when he is fit and playing. With him fully recovered following his knee strain, it will also be important for us to manage him well with an eye on the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow next month.
“He needs to get some game time under his belt and will also be important to provide guidance to the younger guys in the squad, like Werner and WJ Strydom.”
Strydom made his BlitzBok debut in Glasgow and now Kok, another product of the SARU Sevens Elite Player Development squad, will join him.
“Werner is a very hard worker, is quick and fast and will be able to cover at centre and hooker, so I am very happy to welcome him in the squad,” Treu said of the Nelspruit born and raised former Pumas Craven Week player.
At the Twickenham tournament South Africa head Pool A and will play USA, Australia and France in the main 12-team competition. New Zealand line up in Pool B with Wales, Canada and Kenya, while hosts England are the top seed in Pool C but face tough matches against Fiji, Samoa and Argentina.
Scotland, Portugal and Spain will be battling to win back their core team status in an eight-team qualifier to be played alongside that main competition. Russia, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Tonga and Georgia will all be aiming to deny them and secure prized core team status for 2013/14.
Video: Glasgow knock-out highlights
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