Cape Town - South African Rugby Union (SARU) CEO Jurie Roux has
thanked the country’s provincial unions for agreeing to release their players
for sevens duty.
SARU on Wednesday announced the signing of several high
profile 15-man players for the upcoming Sevens World Series season.
Rugby World Cup Springboks Bryan Habana, Damian de Allende
and Lwazi Mvovo are among a host of 15-a-side stars who will be in contention
for places in South Africa’s Olympic Sevens squad.
They will be joined by Springbok team-mates Juan de Jongh,
Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks and Oupa Mohoje at a three-week training camp
from Sunday in Stellenbosch as part of the SARU’s new sevens strategy ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
Habana has returned to his French club side Toulon and will
join the training camp towards the end of the month.
SARU also confirmed that Springboks Francois Hougaard and
Ryan Kankowski had already signed contracts to play for the Springbok Sevens
team this season.
Roux spoke to reporters in Cape Town after Wednesday’s
announcement where he made a special mention to the provincial unions for
buying into the process.
When probed whether it was tough to negotiate with the
unions, Roux responded: “I’ll be lying if I say it was easy, but it wasn’t
difficult. Yes there’s pressure. Every union is under pressure to perform in
Super Rugby and if you start taking players from them within the Super Rugby
environment you’re always going to have challenges,” said Roux.
“There were some who needed a little more convincing than
others, but in the end it was unanimous from them. They understand the
importance of the Olympics, they understand the importance of our country
getting the best opportunity they can at the Olympics, so they all agreed which
was a great thing for us.”
Roux also confirmed that the unions would not be compensated
financially for releasing their players.
“They are all releasing the players for those periods and we’re
not paying them for that. Obviously the guys that we contract, we’ll pay and
when they play for us we’ll pay them.”
Springbok Sevens training squad:
Cecil Afrika, Tim Agaba, Rayno Benjamin, Kyle Brown, Branco
du Preez, Carel du Preez, Damian de Allende, Stephan Dippenaar, Chris Dry, Juan
de Jongh, Justin Geduld, Warrick Gelant, Lungelo Gosa, Bryan Habana, Cornal
Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Frankie Horne, Dewald Human, Ryan Kankowski,
Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe, Jaco Kriel, Oupa Mohoje, Lwazi Mvovo, Sibahle
Maxwane, Ruhan Nel, Sandile Ngcobo, Sphamandla Ngcobo, Dylan Sage, Seabelo
Senatla, Philip Snyman, Kwagga Smith, Rosco Speckman, Warren Whiteley