Senatla welcomes Bok stars

2015-11-04 14:14
Seabelo Senatla. (AFP)

Cape Town - Seabelo Senatla was the star of the Blitzboks side in the 2014/15 season, and now he will be joined by the likes of Bryan Habana, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jong, Francois Hougaard and Lwazi Mvovo in 2015/16. 

The ultimate goal is the Rio Olympics in August next year, and that draw card has attracted some big names to Neil Powell's squad to make them - on the surface - a formidable group heading into the Games.

Just how inclusion of some of these players will affect their Super Rugby campaigns remains to be seen, and man-management has been promised, but one thing certain is that there is renewed competition in the Sevens set-up. 

"That's a massive push for us, I think. It's really awesome. It's only going to boost us. Their knowledge of the game and experience ... us youngsters are really going to learn a whole lot from them," Senatla said at Powell's training squad announcement in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"And also, in terms of competition being really high, players will be sharpening each other there. It's exciting times and we're really excited to have them join us."

Senatla was a late addition the the Stormers' Super Rugby charge in 2015 after the Sevens season had ended, but with next year's Super Rugby final taking place a day after the Olympics gets underway, that will not be possible in 2016.  

"I will be focusing more on Sevens. Especially now, more than ever, because it is an Olympic year. I'm not going to be with the Stormers at all ... I'll be camping with the Sevens side," said Senatla.

"It's the most important year of my life. I've wanted this for a very long time. I'm going to try and play as much Sevens as I can so I can be as good a player as I can be come Olympic time.

"I don't see myself as a rugby player, I see myself as an athlete. A gold medal at the Olympics is the pinnacle as an athlete ... and that's what we've been dreaming of our whole lives."

Powell will cut the current squad of 34 to just 12 that will travel to Rio.

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


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