Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu has made three changes to his SA Sevens squad for the upcoming HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
William Small Smith replaces the injured Mark Richards, Pieter Engelbrecht got the nod ahead of Chase Minnaar while Dirk Dippenaar is set to make his SA debut as replacement for Steven Hunt.
Hunt will miss the trip to the Far East because of a family bereavement.
Former Tuks utility back Dippenaar caught the eye with some impressive performances recently for the SA Academy team in Harare and has been training with the wider group since the beginning of the season. Small-Smith is back in the squad after missing the previous two Series events because of SA Under-20 commitments.
Good news for the squad is that Kyle Brown (shoulder), Chris Dry (knee) and Boom Prinsloo (neck) have all recovered from their injury knocks suffered in Las Vegas and Wellington.
South Africa is yet to win the popular Hong Kong showpiece and coach Paul Treu said his team are anxious to do well and to play to their full potential.
“We have played well this season but for some reason have not been able to really produce the goods in the key matches. It is something we as a team have spoken a lot about and our goal will be to be consistent on both days.
“The guys are committed and have worked extremely hard since our return from the USA. Our medical team did very well to get the injured players ready in time, which enabled us to choose a good competitive squad,” explained Treu.
South Africa are currently third in the World Series standings with 76 points. New Zealand lead the race with 92 points, followed by Fiji on 87.
The popular Hong Kong tournament will take place on 23 to 25 March and the inaugural Tokyo Sevens on 31 March and 1 April. The 14-man SA squad will travel to Hong Kong on Saturday.
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