Blitzbokke selection headache

2015-01-20 15:47
Neil Powell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, admitted on Tuesday he will have to make some tough choices when announcing his touring party of 12 players for the next two HSBC World Sevens Series tournaments in New Zealand and the United States.

The Wellington Sevens takes place on 6 and 7 February in the New Zealand capital and will be followed by the Las Vegas Sevens a week later, where the South Africans are the defending champions.

Despite the absence of Cheslin Kolbe as a result of Vodacom Super Rugby commitments with the DHL Stormers, Powell still has a very strong group of players to choose from.

“We are really blessed to have 22 quality players available for selection. The group who played in Dubai and Port Elizabeth performed very well, while those who missed out on selection really showed amazing commitment and desire to get back into the squad,” explains Powell.

The SA Sevens coach, who guided his country to their first Sevens gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last season, said he was pleased with the commitment showed at training since the squad assembled in Stellenbosch on 5 January.

“We pushed them hard and they responded very well,” said Powell.

“We are looking to maintain our momentum and to keep on improving as a squad. Although we are pleased with the tournament wins in Dubai and PE, there is always room for improvement. We conceded far too many penalties in PE, with quite a few in one match at times. So we have worked hard on keeping our focus and being disciplined in the last few weeks,” explains Powell.

Last week the squad worked with Springbok breakdown consultant Richie Gray, while they called in former Test referee Freek Burger on Tuesday to assist with the interpretation of technical rules.

Kyle Brown, the regular team captain, was back at training on Tuesday after enjoying a day off following his wedding this past weekend.

The 12-man squad will leave for New Zealand next Friday, where they will face France, Japan and the USA in the pool stages.

South Africa currently enjoys an eight-point lead over Fiji at the top of the World Series table after successive wins in Dubai and PE. The top four teams on the final World Series table will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights


Of the current crop of rugby commentators - across all languages - who is your favourite?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.