Cape Town - Springbok Sevens players Sandile Ngcobo and Dewald Human will return to France this week to join up with the SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad for the Howard Hinton Rugby Sevens Tournament in Tours, on 27 and 28 May.
The two Blitzboks were part of the squad that won the HSBC Paris Sevens two weeks ago and will now join the team from London, where they played the final tournament of HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
A third Blitzbok, Marco Labuschagne, will also travel to France and not return to South Africa. He made his international debut at the HSBC London Sevens last weekend.
SA Rugby Sevens Academy Manager, Marius Schoeman, said a fourth member of the Blitzboks team, Ryan Oosthuizen, was expected to join his side as well, but had to return to South Africa following a family bereavement.
Ngcobo will lead the team in Tours and Schoeman also included some of his newest Academy recruits for the tournament. Amongst them are Tythan Adams, who recently returned from Scotland, where he played for the Selkirk club as part of a rugby exchange programme of the Gold Cup tournament.
Former FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International stars Daniel Maartens and Mosolwa Mafuma were also included in the squad, as were 2016 SA Schools players JC Pretorius and Mike Mavovana.
“I am happy with the group and the experience gained by those three players waiting for us in France will be valuable indeed, as we have not played together in a tournament yet,” said Schoeman.
“This is not ideal, but the guys have been training together for a while, so should give account of themselves.”
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy have proved to be an ideal feeder structure into the Blitzboks and Schoeman is confident that it will continue.
“These guys are talented and it will be interesting to see how many progress into the Blitzboks, which is an ongoing process,” he said.
“Their season has just ended and we have started, so hopefully we will have a couple of contenders ready when the Blitzboks start the 2017/18 season. With the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Commonwealth Games and World Cup Sevens all happening in 2018, depth in the squad could be a very important factor, so we need to make sure we develop the next tier.”
The team departs South Africa on Monday night.
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad is:
1. Mfundo Ndhlovu
2. Heino Bezuidenhout (vice-captain)
3. JC Pretorius
4. Gift Dlamini
5. Marco Labuschagne
6. Daniel Maartens
7. Dewald Human
8. Tythan Adams
9. Mike Mavovana
10. Sandile Ngcobo (Captain)
11. Mosolwa Mafuma
12. Sakoyisa Makata