Blitzbokke debut for Dippenaar
Cape Town - Stephan Dippenaar, the former
Vodacom Bulls centre, is set to make his Springbok Sevens debut in New Zealand
after he was included in the squad of 14 players for the next two legs of the
HSBC Sevens World Series, in Wellington and Las Vegas.
Dippenaar was named at a media
conference at the team’s new, state-of-the-art headquarters at the Stellenbosch
Academy of Sport on Tuesday. The innovative facility was identified by SARU as
supporting the strategy of placing the Sevens team at the cutting edge of the sport’s
The World Series resumes on 3
and 4 February in the New Zealand capital after a new-look opening leg of three
tournaments towards the end of 2011 in Australia, Dubai and South Africa
respectively. Following the stopover in Wellington, which is regarded as one of
the most popular Series destinations, the Blitzbokke will then defend their USA
title in Las Vegas from 10 to 12 February.
Dippenaar signed a two year
contract last year with the Springbok Sevens team and he will now get his chance
to show his worth after he was included in the travelling party in the place of
William Small-Smith, who is currently involved with the SA Under-20 training
The former Vodacom Bulls player
was a member of the newly-established SA Sevens Academy team that played in
Uruguay last month, where he helped them to reach the final in Punta del Este.
Last year, Kyle Brown’s team
won their first tournament of the season in Las Vegas. That victory
kick-started a good run of form for the team, who went on to lift two more
titles in Scotland and England and to eventually claim second place overall
behind series winners New Zealand.
South Africa are currently
placed third on the Series log, three points behind joint leaders Fiji and New
Zealand, who have 51 points each. Just one point separates South Africa and
England in the standings after three exciting tournaments.
Springbok Sevens coach Paul
Treu, whose team lost their home tournament in heart-breaking fashion
against the Kiwis in Port Elizabeth last December, said his team will be
striving to maintain their consistency during the next two tournaments.
“The new points system on offer
as well as the additional ninth tournament really brought another dimension to
the Series,” he said. “There are no more easy pool matches because the teams
want to secure a good seeding position for the next tournament, so we can
expect two more very competitive tournaments in Wellington and Las Vegas.”
The Blitzbokke coach said he
was keen to see how newcomer Dippenaar performs in Bok Sevens colours. “He has
learnt a lot since his switch to Sevens last year and I would like to see how
he handles the much tougher demands of the very competitive Series.”
According to Treu, his team has
put the huge disappointment of losing their home Cup Final behind them and they
are looking forward to resume the Series. “Our previous Cup success in
Wellington was ten years ago, so that will be a huge motivating factor for us.
The New Zealand leg is always tough because of the great support for the
Pacific Island teams, but we will embrace the challenge and hope to improve on
our most recent performances in New Zealand,” said Treu.
The team departs on Friday from
the Cape Town International Airport to Wellington via Johannesburg at 13:00.
The Springbok Sevens squad for Wellington and Las Vegas
1. Chris Dry
2. Chase Minnaar
3. Frankie Horne
4. Boom Prinsloo
5. Cornal Hendricks
6. Kyle Brown (captain)
7. Branco du Preez
8. Bernado Botha
9. Paul Delport
10. Cecil Afrika
11. Steven Hunt
12. Mark Richards
13. Stephan Dippenaar
14. Renfred Dazel