SA Sevens aim to finish Series on a high

(IRB.COM) Thursday 3 May 2012
SA Sevens aim to finish Series on a high
Frankie Horne is one of the more experienced players in the SA Sevens squad

Three players will make their debut for the Springbok Sevens in Glasgow this weekend following confirmation of the team to play in the penultimate HSBC Sevens World Series tournament of the season.

Ryan Nell (Maties), Jamba Ulengo (Shimlas) and Clayton Blommetjies (Tuks) will all get their first taste of international Sevens for South Africa, while there are also some noticeable returns for the Blitzbokke in Scotland.

Philip Burger, the Vodacom Free State wing, returns to the team for the first time since the 2006/2007 season, while the versatile Steven Hunt is back in the team after missing the previous two outings in Hong Kong and Japan because of a family bereavement.

Paul Treu, the Springbok Sevens coach, initially included Okkie Kruger in his 12-man tournament squad. However, a troublesome hamstring forced Kruger onto the sidelines, paving the way for Nell’s inclusion.

IRB Player of the Year, Cecil Africa, and the equally experienced Paul Delport both suffered knee injuries in the Far East and were not considered for selection.

In 2011, South Africa were victorious in the last two tournaments of the season, beating Fiji 24-14 to win the London Sevens, before inflicting a heartbreaking 36-35 victory against Australia in the 100th World Series tournament, the 2011 Edinburgh Sevens.

SA are currently third in the World Series (105 points), just ahead of England (104) and Samoa (101). New Zealand (128) lead the way with Fiji (122) in second spot.

“We’ve made numerous changes so our main aim will be to stick to the basics and to really grab use of our opportunities,” said coach, Paul Treu, whose side faces Russia, hosts Scotland and Wales in the pool stages.

“Because of the composition of the squad, it is very important that we concentrate on a good start against Russia. In this respect, I will be looking to the senior, more experienced players to guide the new players during both days,” added Treu.

SA triumph at 100th World Series event