Du Preez, Kolbe, Kok bol­ster Spring­bok Sevens stocks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

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.

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