Four new Blitzbok signings
Stephan Dippenaar (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Blue Bulls centre Stephan Dippenaar is the most well-known of four new signings made by the South African National Sevens team.Click to BUY the SA Rugby Annual 2011
newspaper reports that Dippenaar, along with Boland's Cornal Hendricks, the Sharks' Mark Richards and the University of Pretoria's Dirk Dippenaar have all been rewarded with national sevens contracts.
Stephan Dippenaar has fallen out of favour at the Blue Bulls and was subsequently not offered a new contract by the Pretoria-based union. Francois Venter and new recruit from Western Province, Johann Sadie, are viewed as the most promising upcoming midfielders at the union.
Hendricks was a standout performer for the Boland Cavaliers in the recent Currie Cup First Division, which Boland won when they defeated the EP Kings in the final in Wellington. Bok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, views the versatile Hendricks in a similar mould as Chris Dry - who played a huge part in the Blitzbokke's triumph in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Richards - who signed a two-year deal - has previously been described by Treu as a player that "makes the right decision 9 out of ten times".
The national group for the first three IRB World Sevens events is expected to be named on Monday.
Treu is still waiting to hear whether he will be able to again call on the services of the Sharks' Paul Jordaan, Sibusiso Sithole and Lubablo Mtembu.
The coach also expects his star play-maker Cecil Afrika's broken jaw to be healed by the time the first tournament starts in Australia at the end of next month. However, he will only be able to play in the second tournament in Port Elizabeth.