Blitsbokke fired up for PE

2014-12-13 00:00

The Blitsbokke begin the defence of their Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens title today in Port Elizabeth in what promises to be a hugely entertaining third stop of the HSBC World Sevens series.Blitsbokke coach Neil Powell’s men go into the tournament as overwhelming favourites having steamrolled the competition in the Dubai Sevens last week. It is now up to the talented squad to claim their home title and, in doing so, move to the top of the Series standings. Powell will be looking to five key players to carry the team at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this weekend, writes GARETH JENKINSON.

Seabelo Senatla

There is no doubt that Senatla will become one of the Sevens greats. Scoring five tries in Dubai, Senatla showed that his pace is not to be taken lightly. The Western Province flyer scored a number of tries chasing down kick passes and proved to be a deadly finisher when the ball was flung his way. He is not all about the gas and has proved his mettle as a great defensive player as well. Senatla is the player to watch out for this weekend in Port Elizabeth.

Seabelo Senatla will be looking to add to his 12 tries in the HSBC World Sevens series so far.

PHOTO: gallo images

Blitsbokke Squad

Ruhan Nel, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown (capt), Branco du Preez, Rayno Benjamin, Warrick Gelant, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe.

Blitzbokke Pool A fixtures today

South Africa vs USA - 12.42 pm

South Africa vs Kenya - 3.58 pm

South Africa vs Wales - 7.58 pm

Cecil Afrika

Afrika looks set to become the Blitsbokke’s highest point scorer of all time this weekend, needing to score only 12 points to overtake Blitsbokke legend Fabian Juries’s career tally of 925 points. Afrika was on fire in Dubai and proved to be a handful on attack. The dreadlocked master scored four tries at the tournament and set up many more for his teammates. Alongside Branco du Preez, the pair kept opposition defences guessing, mixing up their attack with kick passes and dynamic set moves.

Branco du Preez

Du Preez has firmly established himself as one of the Blitsbokke’s main men and his interplay with Afrika has only got better with time. Despite his small size, Du Preez is an attacking master and played a big roll distributing and setting up tries in Dubai. Having only crossed the whitewash once himself last weekend, Du Preez has orchestrated a number of excellent Blitsbokke tries. He will be looking to unleash the likes of Senatla, Kok and Smith this weekend.

Werner Kok

The 23-year-old was named player of the tournament in Dubai and for good reason. Kok scored four tries over the weekend and was huge on both attack and defence. The blonde Blitsbok is an exciting prospect on attack and is powerful on his feet which he showed in a number of powerful runs. Coupled with some good support running lines and a healthy turn of pace, Kok is quickly becoming a vital cog in the South African side. He will be looking to bring the same impressive work rate this weekend to help his team try to defend their title.

Kwagga Smith

The young Lions flank had a solid tournament in Dubai with the highlight being his hat-trick of tries in the first half of their 28-0 semi final win over New Zealand. Smith is of a similar mould to Kok and his strength and work rate are definitely his strengths. He worked tirelessly on defence in the desert heat and also proved to be a handful on attack with some dynamic runs. The 21-year-old has done well to step up in the absence of captain Kyle Brown, who made his comeback from injury last weekend.

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