Swopping Ndhlovu for Pretorius was an easy one for the Blitzboks
SPRINGBOK Sevens coach Neil Powell has made one rotational change to his squad that won the Los Angeles Sevens for this weekend’s tournament in Vancouver, swopping the roles of Mfundo Ndhlovu and JC Pretorius.
Ndhlovu has been the squad’s “13th” player all through the World Sevens Series and is now to be given game time in place of the over-played Pretorius, who takes on the role of official reserve. Pretorius has been impressive in recent tournaments, winning Dream Team selections in both Sydney and LA, but Powell said the decision taken to rest the energetic forward was done with the best interest of the squad and player at heart.
“JC has played in every tournament and has clocked the most minutes of everyone in the squad, so he will be managed a bit this weekend,” said Powell. “As 13th player, you could end up playing in five matches or none, as it happened with Mfundo in Los Angeles. Just as much as JC needs a bit of a break, Mfundo needs some time out on the field having returned from injury, so the swop was actually an easy one to make.”
The switch will also see the role of Angelo Davids change from last weekend. Davids has started to double up as hooker when not playing on the wing and he will be more involved in the forwards in the Pool A clashes with Japan, Argentina and England tomorrow. “We are busy grooming Angelo to become a utility player for us and he will get more game time at hooker for us at the tournament. Despite last weekend’s success, we need to start all over again in our approach and attitude in Vancouver,” said Powell, adding that the Blitzboks enjoy the sixth stop on the series. “The challenges will be different from last week and it will be more of a mindset thing. You are always keen to improve when you did not perform well in a previous tournament. But if you won, as we did, the challenge becomes more mental.”
According to Powell, the uncertainty surrounding big sporting events in the next couple of months due to the coronavirus outbreak makes it easier for them to focus on the Canadian tournament. “We don’t know what is going to happen, so it makes no sense to worry about it,” he said.