The Springboks Sevens and their new coach, Neil Powell, will be aiming to start the new HSBC Sevens World Series on winning note when the Gold Coast Sevens rugby tournament kicks off early Saturday morning (SA time).
Powell, a former Springbok Sevens captain and World Series winner, succeeds the long serving Paul Treu and is one of nine new coaches at the season-opener in Australia.
South Africa only landed Down Under in the early hours of Friday after weather disrupted their travel, but the team arrived on the Gold Coast with a strong side.
Branco du Preez, Paul Delport and prolific try scorer Seabelo Senatla may all be out injured but veteran Frankie Horne returns after missing the World Cup in Russia. Also, skipper Kyle Brown has had a full pre-season after his action was cut short by an ankle injury last year.
Another forward Chris Dry is one try away from 50 in his international career. The return of several regulars to the squad means that South Africa are one of only two sides at the Gold Coast with no debutants.
The Springbok Sevens’ opponents in Pool B are England, France and Spain.
Uninterrupted live streaming online
Meanwhile the International Rugby Board has announced that, for the first time, the World Series will be streamed live online. Uninterrupted action of all nine rounds of the 2013/14 Series will be available to watch on irbsevens starting with round one on Australia’s Gold Coast on 12-13 October.
The development follows the success of the live streaming from the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, which was viewed by over 260,000 unique users over the three days.
In territories where broadcast agreements are in place geo-blocking may apply, however the live streaming solution means that the popular action will be accessible to Rugby fans in every country in the world, allowing them to both watch and engage with the Series via integrated social media.
The South African pools fixture list (all matches live on SuperSport 1 & SHD):
03:14 vs. France
06:20 vs. Spain
11:02 vs. England
The Springbok Sevens team is (World Series tournaments in brackets):
1. Chris Dry (28)
2. Philip Snyman (15)
3. Frankie Horne (50)
4. Jamba Ulengo (6)
5. Cornal Hendricks (16)
6. Kyle Brown (33) captain
7. Sampie Mastriet (2)
8. Stephan Dippenaar (14)
9. Justin Geduld (4)
10. Cecil Afrika (24)
11. Mark Richards (7)
12. Steven Hunt (19)
Coach: Neil Powell