Two former schoolboy stars, a number of Blitzboks and a Cell C Sharks stand-out have been named in the SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad to travel to South America today to play in tournaments in Uruguay and Chile.
SA Rugby Sevens Academy manager and coach, Marius Schoeman, named 18-year olds, Angelo Davids and Muller du Plessis, along with capped Blitzboks Marco Labuschagne, Zain Davids, Ryan Oosthuizen, Dewald Human, Stedman Gans and Selvyn Davids in his squad for tournaments in Punta Del Este and Vina Del Mar respectively, and included Rhyno Smith, who excelled for the Cell C Sharks in their Vodacom Super Rugby and Currie Cup campaigns last year.
SA Rugby Academy regulars, Impi Visser, JC Pretorius and Mosolwa Mafuma completes the line-up, which will also see Sandile Ngcobo travelling along as assistant coach and reserve player.
“This is an important trip for us,” Schoeman said.
“We managed to deliver six players into the senior Blitzboks squad last season and as we try to expand our player base with the eye on the future, this will be an important tour for the likes of Angelo and Muller, but also for Rhyno, who comes from a fifteens background. We have travelled to these tournaments before and I know that not only the new faces, but even the established players will be tested. This tour is not about the results at all costs, but one for all to learn, grow and pick up experience,” the coach explained.
“The competitive nature of these tournaments, the quality of opponents, the travel and the language barriers all combine to make this a very testing trip for the guys, which is exactly what we need to push the boundaries. Players will be out of their comfort zones and we will learn who can thrive when under pressure,” Schoeman said.
The team will contest pool A in the Punta Del Este Sevens, which will be played from 6-7 January and will face Germany, Chile and Paraguay on Day One. They then travel to Chile for the Vina Del Mar Sevens, to will be played next weekend.
The team is: Marco Labuschagne, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, JC Pretorius, Ryan Oosthuizen, Muller du Plessis, Dewald Human, Selvyn Davids, Rhyno Smith, Stedman Gans, Mosolwa Mafuma, Angelo Davids. Management: Marius Schoeman (manager/coach); Sandile Ngcobo (assistant coach), Nadia Clenzos (physiotherapist).