Cape Town - The Blitzboks have recharged their batteries
following their impressive success at the inaugural Cape Town Sevens and a
well-deserved break over the festive season, and are looking forward to the
next two World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Wellington and Sydney.
Wellington hosts the third leg of the World Series on January
30 and 31 and the inaugural Sydney tournament takes place a week later, on February
6 and 7.
SA Rugby will announce the 12-man squad for Wellington and
Sydney at a Steinhoff sponsorship function in Stellenbosch next Wednesday
afternoon. Steinhoff is the new team sponsor of the Springbok Sevens.
Powell and his team have been in training camp since January
4 but the recovery of some players as well as illness amongst others,
unfortunately prevented the full squad from training together from the
beginning of the restart camp.
Werner Kok is a long-term injury casualty and has undergone
knee surgery, while Cecil Afrika was nursing a persistent hamstring niggle.
Although Branco du Preez has recovered from his shoulder rehabilitation, he was
laid low with a virus infection.
After the high of winning the inaugural Cape Town Sevens
last December, the team enjoyed a break and regrouped again last week in
Powell is confident that his charges are now fully energised
again after a well-deserved break and ready for the Australasian leg of the
“It only took one gruelling session to the guys back into
the swing of things again and I am satisfied with their levels of intensity and
mental preparation,” said Powell.
“Last year, in the build up to Dubai and Cape Town, we spent
a lot of time on the basics of our playing structure because we had a lot more
fifteens players with us. This time around, we could go straight into
preparation of our game plan, which I think is a big plus.”
The three non-contracted players currently training with the
squad are the Western Province duo of Cheslin Kolbe and Juan de Jongh, and Rayno
Benjamin of the Free State Cheetahs. All three were instrumental in the team
winning their third consecutive home title at the Cape Town Stadium last
December, where the tournament was successfully hosted for the first time.
Powell expects the trio to play even better Down Under: “I
am very happy that we have them available for the first four tournaments of the
World Series. They were impressive in Dubai and Cape Town and I know they will
improve even more because of the amount of time spent with the rest of the
The Blitzboks have a tough pool draw for Wellington, where
they will face hosts, New Zealand, Scotland and Russia.