The Springbok Sevens squad travel to Dubai on Sunday evening for a week long preparation camp ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
Injuries to several players have disrupted the preparations of the squad, who must now do without Frankie Horne, Neil Powell, Kyle Brown, Chris Dry and Branco du Preez.
Despite the injuries, Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu is still able to call on the services of experienced campaigners such as Marius Schoeman, Renfred Dazel, Ryno Benjamin, Paul Delport and MJ Mentz.
The exciting Cecil Afrika has now established himself as one of the regulars in the team and, with the experience of a full IRB Sevens World Series season behind him, should continue to develop his talents even further.
Treu has called up several youngsters to fill the many injury-forced gaps and the Commonwealth Games provides him now with the platform to view the performance of the next generation of players in a robust, competitive arena.
Despite the many challenges, the SA Sevens coach is approaching the Commonwealth Games with an open mind.
“I would much rather prefer to see the positives the Games can offer us than the downside of things. Renfred Dazel is looking towards a good season after his injury woes last year, while someone like Paul Delport will be eager to make the most of his chances after not making the squad initially.
“And then of course, we have four youngsters – Lubabalo Mtembu, Sibusiso Sithole, Boom Prinsloo and Bernardo Botha who are all under 21 years of age. This is an exciting opportunity for them and I am looking forward to see them in action. We seldom get the chance to be part of such a huge multi-sports event and we are looking forward to embrace the challenge and also to enjoy the occasion,” explained Treu.
The South African squad will play a few warm-up matches in Dubai against some of the local Arabian Gulf teams before flying out to Delhi on 8 October.
The Commonwealth Sevens takes place on 11-12 October and South Africa will open the tournament with a match against Tonga, followed by pool matches against India and Wales.
The Springbok Sevens squad to travel to Dubai and the Commonwealth Games:
Marius Schoeman, Boom Prinsloo, Okkie Kruger, Chase Minnaar, Lubabalo Mtembu, Cecil Afrika, Renfred Dazel, Paul Delport (captain), Ryno Benjamin, Sibusiso Sithole, Bernardo Botha, MJ Mentz.
Issued by SARU Communications