Cape Town - The Blitzbokke face a daunting task
at the Glasgow Sevens this weekend, and their performance in Scotland will no
doubt have a significant effect on their ambition to challenge log leaders New
Zealand for the HSBC Sevens World Series crown.
With the tournament in Glasgow and next
week’s London Sevens being the only remaining legs on the Sevens World
Series circuit, the Blitzbokke are currently seven points behind pace-setters
New Zealand and must at least reach the final of both tournaments to keep their
World Series title ambition alive.
The team, however, faces a difficult pool
assignment on Saturday, with clashes lined up against Portugal, Samoa and New
But despite this and the absence of two of
their most influential players, captain Kyle Brown and attacking dynamo Cecil
Afrika, the South Africans are still ranked as one of the favourites to win in
Brown is recovering from the concussion he
suffered in Hong Kong, while Afrika sustained a groin strain at the same
Mark Richards makes a welcome return to the
squad after last featuring for the Springbok Sevens at the Gold Coast last
September, while Shaun Adendorff will makes his debut for the Blitzbokke.
Adendorff was one of the stars of the South Africa Under-20 team that won the
2012 Junior World Championship title.
Furthermore, wing Seabelo Senatla is also
seeking to regain the top form of last season, which saw him feature in
starring roles for the Junior Springboks at the 2013 JWC in France and the
Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow.
Senatla was chosen for the Glasgow Sevens
Dream Team last year after the South Africans won the tournament, and nothing
will offer him greater satisfaction than to help the team perform well this
weekend in Scotland.
“Personally, I am not quite where I want to
be yet in terms of my performance. However, this weekend is all about the team
and what we as players can do to make this team advance as far as possible,”
Stand-in skipper Frankie Horne conceded it
will be a tough task to overtake New Zealand at the top of the log table with
just two tournaments remaining.
He added that they will
not get carried away by the hype around their tussle with New Zealand for the
World Series title despite the Springbok Sevens’ impressive overall record in
“The reality is that we will have to win
the two remaining tournaments to stay in the hunt for the World Series title.
However, having said that, we will not get ahead of ourselves or allow ourselves
to get carried away,” said Horne, who will be playing in his 58th consecutive
World Series tournament.
The team has emphasised the need to be
consistent throughout the season and to reach the semi-finals at every
tournament. Horne explains their attitude will not change in Glasgow or next
week in London: “For us it’s all about ticking the boxes in terms of the goals
that we’ve set for ourselves as a team. So the guys will be really focussed on
the first match and then look to achieve our goals for the first day,” said
He added: “Last year we had a good time in
Glasgow and were crowned tournament champions. This weekend we will have to go
out and play to the best of our abilities, and if we do that then hopefully
things will fall in place nicely for us.”
South Africa will take on Portugal at 13:20 on Saturday
in their opening encounter, followed by clashes against Samoa at 16:26 and
series leaders New Zealand at 19:37 in what is expected to be the match-up of
The Blitzbokke squad for the Glasgow
Sevens (World Series tournaments in brackets):
1. Chris Dry (35 caps)
2. Philip Snyman (22)
3. Frankie Horne (captain, 57)
4. Jamba Ulengo (11)
5. Werner Kok (7)
6. Shaun Adendorff (0)
7. Branco du Preez (30)
8. Stephan Dippenaar (20)
9. Justin Geduld (11)
10. Mark Richards (8)
11. Kwagga Smith (4)
12. Seabelo Senatla (8)