Cape Town - An ankle injury to Springbok Sevens forward Impi Visser has
ruled him out of the Los Angeles Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park in
Carson this weekend and he will be replaced by the experienced Chris Dry.
Visser sustained the injury on Thursday and Dry was called
into the squad earlier on Friday. Dry, who is the most capped South African
forward in the World Rugby Sevens Series (72 tournaments and 363 matches),
said the trip came unexpected, but he is ready to go.
“Look, it is never nice to replace a fallen brother, but
these things happen,” said Dry.
“It is a long haul to get to Los Angeles, but I have done
many trips in my life and this will be a mental adjustment, something I am
comfortable to do.
"My heart goes out for Impi and I wish him a speedy
recovery. For me, this is just another great opportunity to play with my
friends and fellow Blitzboks."
Dry - along with Zain Davids and Justin Geduld - was
originally rested for the tournament in North America, but will now see action
in his eighth trip to the USA.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell took the injury in his
stride: “Injuries are part and parcel of the game and can happen at any time. I
feel for Impi, he was playing great rugby. Luckily for us, Chris is ready to
Powell had his mind on the Pool B clashes against Kenya,
Canada and Ireland.
“We are looking from some consistency at the start and will
most likely have a starting line-up here that is similar to the one in Sydney,”
“Kenya will be up as they beat us in Hamilton and will
believe they can do so again. We have some momentum though having played a
great tournament in Sydney.
“Kenya will be physical and have two stalwarts back in their
team, so they will be tough. We will need to outsmart them.
“Canada have shown they can beat the big dogs this year and
does not have the nine time zones to contend with like we do. Ireland plays a
similar style to us and ball possession against them will the key factor,” the
Powell was pleased with the preparation: “This late injury
aside, it has been a good week. Any new venue offers some challenges, but
nothing major and we go into the tournament well-prepared.
“These two tournaments have become very important for us,
especially with the two in Asia that have now been moved to a later date.
“We would love to do as well as possible, but it also
becomes a matter of giving some of the fringe players as much game time as
possible as we have lost those opportunities in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Nothing can replace the intensity of a real tournament, so managing the players
in the next two tournaments will be key.”
The revised Springbok Sevens squad for the LA Sevens:
1. Angelo Davids (four tournaments, 20 matches; 65 points,
2. Ryan Oosthuizen (19 tournaments, 95 matches; 95 points,
3. Chris Dry (72 tournaments, 363 matches; 480 points, 96
4. Sako Makata (seven tournaments, 26 matches; 10 points,
5. Werner Kok (49 tournaments, 249 matches; 530 points, 106
6. JC Pretorius (nine tournaments, 48 matches, 110 points,
7. Branco du Preez (73 tournaments, 369 matches; 1316
points, 94 tries, 420 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 drop goal)
8. Selvyn Davids (18 tournaments, 90 matches; 372 points, 39
tries, 87 conversions, 1 penalty)
9. Kurt-Lee Arendse (six tournaments, 25 matches; 55 points,
10. Cecil Afrika (64 tournaments, 333 matches; 1445 points,
176 tries, 281 conversions, 1 penalty)
11. Muller du Plessis (12 tournaments, 51 matches; 170
points, 34 tries)
12. Stedman Gans (captain; 20 tournaments, 94 matches; 140
points, 28 tries)
13. Mfundo Ndhlovu (four tournaments, 17 matches; 25 points,
five tries) – official reserve
The Pools for the LA Sevens:
Pool A: Fiji, Argentina, France, Korea
Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Canada, Kenya
Poo C: USA, Australia, Scotland, Samoa
Pool D: England, New Zealand, Wales, Spain
Blitzboks' pool fixtures (SA times):
Saturday, February 29
21:35 v Kenya
Sunday, March 1
00:53 v Canada
05:05 v Ireland
- SA Rugby