Cape Town - Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has made two changes to his squad for the final two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in the United Kingdom next month.
The penultimate World Series tournament takes place on 9 and 10 May in Glasgow and the season concludes a week later with the ninth and last tournament of the season in London on 15 and 16 May.
Stephan Dippenaar and Philip Snyman have both recovered from the knee injuries they sustained in Hong Kong and return to the squad in place of the Carel du Preez (who made his debut in Tokyo) and the injured Justin Geduld (hamstring) respectively.
South Africa is currently in the top position on the World Series standings after seven rounds, having won two Cup finals (Dubai and Port Elizabeth) and qualifying for the semifinals of each of the previous seven tournaments.
The team will return to Glasgow, the venue of their Commonwealth Games triumph last year, and this time they face a daunting task to qualify for the quarterfinals. South Africa will have to fight it out with New Zealand, Samoa and Kenya in Pool B for one of two group spots on offer in the Cup knockout stages.
The top four teams on the final World Series standings at the end of the season qualify automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Commenting on his selection for the UK tour, Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell said his players were aware of the enormous task awaiting them in Scotland.
“We are in a very tough pool and will have to fight all the way to qualify for the quarterfinals. Each pool match will be a knockout match for us, so there will be no room for complacency,” cautioned Powell.
He added: “It is important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves and think about the title race and Olympic qualification. We intend to take each match in our stride, so the most important thing for us when we arrive in Glasgow will be our first pool match. We always strive for consistency and if we can achieve our team objectives in each of our matches, then I am sure the results will follow,” said Powell.
The South Africa Pool B fixtures in Glasgow are:
11:58 - v Samoa
15:04 - v Kenya
18:37 - v New Zealand
The Springbok Sevens to represent South Africa at the HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments on May 9/10 in Glasgow and May 16/17 in London, are (tournament caps in brackets):
1. Chris Dry (42)
2. Philip Snyman (30)
3. Frankie Horne (66)
4. Kwagga Smith (13)
5. Werner Kok (16)
6. Kyle Brown (captain, 46)
7. Branco du Preez (39)
8. Stephan Dippenaar (23)
9. Ruhan Nel (4)
10. Cecil Afrika (37)
11. Seabelo Senatla (17)
12. Rosko Specman (4)
Neil Powell – Head coach
Ashley Evert – Team Manager
Alan Temple-Jones – Biokeneticist
Hugh Everson – Physio
Nadia Clenzos – Physio