Cape Town - Regular Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown is eager to get back into the Blitzbokke jersey and ready to play his part for his country after missing Round 1 of the Sevens World Series in October at the Gold Coast through injury.
A serious shoulder injury sustained in the final of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July ruled Brown out of action for several months and forced him to miss the season opener in Australia.
The Blitzbokke finished fourth at the Gold Coast, a result which head coach Neil Powell described as unsatisfactory after errors cost them on the second day’s play.
Brown, who is looking forward to making his return after a lengthy injury layoff, said he was excited to be back.
“Injuries are part of the game, but it was tough not to be involved. It was a lonely feeling sitting on the couch watching the guys play on the other side of the world,” explained the skipper.
He added that the team realised they had much to improve on.
“During training at Stellenbosch you could see the guys were determined. The intensity is definitely there, and as individuals we are all looking to give something extra for the team,” said Brown.
Dubai has not delivered much success for the Blitzbokke lately, but Brown nevertheless looked forward to playing at the popular desert venue.
“For us, the conditions are similar to Stellenbosch in summer. It is a great running pitch and hopefully it will assist us because we have some fantastic runners in the team,” added Brown.
Injuries have ruled out Justin Geduld and Stephan Dippenaar, but the return of the influential Brown and the addition of Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province) and Rayno Benjamin (Free State Cheetahs) will no doubt boost the South Africans’ chances of success in Dubai.
Powell also added former SA Schools star and 2014 Junior Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls) to his squad, meaning his selection will have a balanced mixture of exciting young talent and seasoned stalwarts. Brown has 40 World Series tournaments under his belt while veteran Frankie Horne will be playing in his 61st consecutive tournament.
The SA Dubai fixture list for Friday (SA time):07:00 - v Portugal
10:00 - v Canada
14:08 - v Wales
The Blitzbokke team to play in Dubai (World Series caps in brackets):1. Ruhan Nel (1)
2. Philip Snyman (25)
3. Frankie Horne (60)
4. Kwagga Smith (7)
5. Werner Kok (10)
6. Kyle Brown (40, captain)
7. Branco du Preez (33)
8. Rayno Benjamin (25)
9. Warrick Gelant (0)
10. Cecil Afrika (31)
11. Seabelo Senatla (11)
12. Cheslin Kolbe (6)
• Frankie Horne is the only player in the history of the Sevens World Series to play 60 consecutive tournaments. He will extend that record to 61 in Dubai.
• Cecil Afrika (901*) could pass Fabian Juries (925) as the highest points scorer for the Blitzbokke in the Sevens World Series
• Ruhan Nel became the 155th player to represent South Africa in the World Series in the Gold Coast and Warrick Gelant will be 156th.