Du Preez, Kolbe, Kok bolster Springbok Sevens stocks
THE SPRINGBOK Sevens squad for the next two rounds of the Sevens World Series in Dubai and Port Elizabeth shows three changes from the 12-man group which finished fourth at the Gold Coast last month.
The squad had been bolstered by the return to fitness of livewire scrumhalf Branco du Preez and the inclusion of SA Under- 20 star Cheslin Kolbe of Western Province.
Werner Kok was the third change to the squad, while Mark Richards and Steven Hunt missed out on selection.
Cornal Hendricks, top tryscorer for South Africa last season when they finished second on the World Series log, had joined the Cheetahs for next year’s Super Rugby campaign and was unavailable.
Seabelo Senatla and veteran Paul Delport were still recovering from injury and could not be considered.
Kolbe was included in the travelling party after Saru high performance manager Rassie Erasmus successfully negotiated his temporary release from Western Province.
Erasmus said Saru was grateful to the provincial unions for releasing players to the Springbok Sevens squad.
“Although the unions have just completed a tough Currie Cup campaign, they did not hesitate to answer our call for assistance,” Erasmus said.
“I want to thank the Bulls, EP Kings, Pumas and Western Province for releasing their players to us.”
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said he was pleased with the final selection and added the players were eager to improve on their showing at the Gold Coast.
“Our preparations went well and the guys are really looking forward to Dubai and then to come back and play in front of our home supporters in Port Elizabeth,” Powell said.
“We are looking for consistency in performance, firstly during this series, but will be very keen to win the next two tournaments as we have good track records and support at both venues.”
The squad leaves tomorrow afternoon from Cape Town International Airport to play in next weekend’s Dubai Sevens.
They then travel to Port Elizabeth for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens on December 7 and 8.
In Dubai, South Africa line up against Argentina, Russia and defending tournament champions Samoa in Pool D on match day one. Springbok Sevens squad Chris Dry, Phillip Snyman, Werner Kok, Frankie Horne, Jamba Ulengo, Kyle Brown (captain), Stephan Dippenaar, Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Cheslin Kolbe, Sampie Mastriet.
OFF TO DUBAI: Cheslin Kolbe of Western Province has been selected to represent the Springbok Sevens in Dubai next weekend.