Senatla to focus on XVs, wants Bok jersey

2016-09-15 14:04
Seabelo Senatla (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - He is one of the most respected forces on the Sevens world circuit, but now Blitzboks star Seabelo Senatla is turning his focus to XV-man rugby. 

Senatla, quite simply, wants to be a Springbok. 

An instrumental part of the Blitzboks set-up since 2013, Senatla has also featured for the Stormers in Super Rugby. 

A new three-year contract with SA Rugby does not tie him down to the Blitzboks, and while he still plans on playing Sevens in the future, the aim now is very much working his way into national coach Allister Coetzee's plans. 

"My plan is to focus on XVs," Senatla told Sport24 on Thursday just as he was about to board a ferry to Robben Island, where he was due to play in a Shoprite Checkers-sponsored friendly touch rugby game in aid of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

"It’s been a long time that I’ve wanted to play for the Boks, but I couldn’t because I was playing Sevens.

"Now that I’m going to play XVs I’m putting myself in a better position to play for the Boks."

Senatla said he was boosted by the fact that Coetzee had called up Juan de Jongh and Francois Hougaard to the Bok squad despite them having been with the Blitzboks in Rio. 

De Jongh had at least played Super Rugby for the Stormers in 2016, but Hougaard spent the whole season playing Sevens.

"It just says to me that it’s attainable," Senatla said of his Rio team-mates getting Bok call-ups.

"I’m going full out for that."

He is looking at the end of year tour to the northern hemisphere with hope, but says if he is not a part of that squad he will be available for the first two Sevens World Series tournaments with the Blitzboks in Dubai and Cape Town in December. 

Senatla says he has not had any direct contact with Coetzee, but that there has been communication.

"Not personally, but through people, yes," he said.

"I haven’t personally talked to him. I just saw him before we left (for Rio) ... I had a casual chat.

"There have been chats with him and people close to me, we’ll see how that goes."

Senatla missed the semi-finals of the Olympic tournament with a wrist injury that has plagued him ever since. 

The good news is that the cast came off on Wednesday and that Senatla is on the mend at the Stellenbosch Sports Science Institute. 

"I’m still kind of in between. I’m not going to be able to play the Currie Cup," the 23-year-old said.

"I’m not really sure where I am right now, we’ll see what happens when I get fully fit."

Read more on:    blitzboks  |  springboks  |  seabelo senatla  |  rugby

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