Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell named an experienced squad to travel to Namibia next week for the SAFLAND Sevens tournament, to be played at The Dome in the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Powell named HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series regulars Tim Agaba, Cecil Afrika, Kyle Brown, Justin Geduld, Dylan Sage and Chris Dry in the squad that will play as the Springbok Sevens Academy side in the tournament on 12 and 13 November.
The squad will be without Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith when they depart from Cape Town on Wednesday.
Senatla will be attending the World Rugby Awards evening in London next weekend after being named as one of three nominees for the World Sevens Player of the Year Award, while Smith is involved with the British Barbarians.
‘We are hoping that Kwagga can still join us at the tournament, as he is in need of some sevens action,’ Powell said. ‘It is less than four weeks before the 2016/17 series kick-off in Dubai, so this tournament will be an important warm-up for us. We have not played since the Olympics and guys such as Werner Kok and Siviwe Soyizwapi have played fifteens as well.
‘So it will be a good hit-out for us to get our act together before the opening tournament in Dubai,’ Powell said.
The South Africans can expect some tough competition from the likes of Germany, Kenya, hosts Namibia as well as Zambia, amongst others, but Powell was pleased about that.
‘Ideally we needed at least a dozen of the teams that will play in Dubai to be there, as they will test our defence and attack properly. But I am happy with the kind of opposition we will encounter in Swakopmund. The weather conditions are expected to be pretty hot, which is another good thing for us.’
Powell has most of his regular squad available again for the new season, but will be looking to add some new faces as the season progresses.
‘We have to freshen up our squad and add to our depth with the next Olympic Games in Japan in mind. But we also will be looking to a strong showing in the series, so will have to plan our season well. We are aiming for the number one spot, but need to keep our long term goals in mind too.’
The squad to travel to Namibia is:
Tim Agaba, Chris Dry, Kyle Brown, Stephan Dippenaar/Kwagga Smith, Philip Snyman, Carel du Preez, Branco du Preez, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Africa, Dylan Sage, Ruhan Nel, Werner Kok, Siviwe Sovizwapi.
Source: South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.