Cape Town – Expect to see Seabelo Senatla,
ace poacher for the Blitzboks, make his keenly-awaited return to the more
extended form of rugby only at the beginning of next season.
Confirmation is expected later today that
the Sevens strike factor – badly missed in the narrow semi-final defeat to
Great Britain at the Olympic event in Rio where South Africa were curtailed to
bronze medal – will be sidelined for around three months.
Back here this week from Brazil, Senatla
was due for a medical on Tuesday to confirm the full extent of the fracture-related
injury to his wrist, frustratingly suffered right at the end of the Blitzboks’
quarter-final triumph over Australia, but reliable sources have indicated to
Sport24 that the initial forecast of an eight-week layoff or thereabouts is
likelier to be three months.
That would mean the 23-year-old speedster plays
no part at all in Western Province’s Currie Cup campaign, even if they reach
the October 15 final – only two months up the road.
It would also mean Senatla is very
unlikely, considering a lack of match sharpness or any first-class opportunity
to reacclimatise to the XVs game, to come into contention as an appealing
“wildcard” for the Springbok end-of-year tour of the northern hemisphere in
If that is the case, his fresh switch of
landscapes will only begin when the Stormers undertake their preparations for
the 2017 Super Rugby campaign.
He has already proved his mettle at XVs
level, excelling at times for Province in his maiden season with them in 2014
when they won the Currie Cup, even though Sevens remained a strong focus for
him at the time.
With the Olympics out of the way, every
effort should and probably will be made to get Senatla, a prodigious attacking
talent and no shrinking violet on defence either, back in the groove on the
more “crowded” rugby field.
Welkom-born Senatla would have been a
welcome addition to head coach John Dobson’s Currie Cup plans had he not
suffered the wrist setback in Rio, considering that all season long both the
Stormers and WP have been more under-staffed than they would like in back-three
First their intended star Springbok signing
Cornal Hendricks was able to play no part in Super Rugby 2016 – the Stormers
were conference-toppers and beaten quarter-finalists – because of a serious
heart condition that has left his entire rugby career looking tenuous.
Then during the competition, versatile
Dillyn Leyds tore knee ligaments on the training ground at the end of March and
was ruled out for nine months.
But WP do hope to filter back that
bamboozling runner from fullback, Cheslin Kolbe, into their plans from his own Olympics
duty as quickly as possible – there is reportedly even a chance he will play a
role in Friday’s Newlands clash with the in-form Free State Cheetahs.
our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing