Springbok Sevens stalwart Muller du Plessis has been ruled out with a leg injury while Ryan Oosthuizen will be given as much time as possible to recover from his ankle niggle as the Blitzboks got their preparations underway for this coming weekend’s second HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Dubai.
The Springbok Sevens won a third straight tournament when they dazzled their way to a thrilling 42-7 win over the USA in an exhilarating Emirates Dubai 7s Cup final on Saturday afternoon.
In doing so, the Blitzboks won their 18th consecutive World Series match, which improved their previous best run of the 2008/09 season by two wins. As a result of their splendid win, they also top the early season standings.
According to Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell, the injured Du Plessis will return to South Africa for further examinations as soon as the necessary travel arrangements can be made.
Oosthuizen picked up an ankle niggle, which also ruled him out for most of last weekend’s action. However, he will be treated and assessed throughout the week and the team will give him as much time as possible to recover before a call is made on his inclusion in the squad.
“If Ryan does not recover in time then we will be forced to play this weekend with 11 players,” Powell confirmed on Monday, as there are current restrictions on international flights from South Africa to Dubai.
“Unfortunately, that is not in our control and we have to adapt and make plans accordingly,” added Powell, who explained that management of the players’ workloads will be a huge focus for the Blitzboks this week.
“We have to spread the load equally amongst the guys, in training and while playing, so we can keep them as fresh as possible. With potentially only 11 available, it will however be an interesting challenge.
“So, this scenario is something we as a coaching staff will look at closely so we can make our plans accordingly,” added Powell.
Meanwhile, the squad resumed training in Dubai on Monday after they enjoyed a well-deserved break on Sunday following the past weekend’s gruelling but successful event.
Following the opening tournament, the Blitzboks have been drawn against the same pool opponents they faced last Friday – Japan, Ireland and Great Britain.
The Blitzboks’ Pool A matches on Friday in Dubai (SA times):
09h12: Springboks Sevens vs Japan
13h04: Springboks Sevens vs Ireland
18h33: Springboks Sevens vs Great Britain