Swop­ping Ndhlovu for Pre­to­rius was an easy one for the Bl­itzboks

Pretoria News - - SPORT - MIKE GREENAWAY mike.greenaway@inl.co.za The Bl­itzboks’ play­ing sched­ule (SA times): To­mor­row 8.06pm: Ja­pan 11.18pm: Ar­gentina Sun­day 2.30am: Eng­land

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.

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