Blitsbokke call up Varsity rugby crop

2012-04-25 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Clayton Blommetjies, the Tuks fullback who starred in this year’s Varsity Cup success, yesterday received a well-deserved call-up to the Springbok Sevens squad.

The Blitsbokke group for the last two tournaments of the HSBC Sevens World Series, to be played in Glasgow and London in May, show six changes from the previous outfit who did duty in Hong Kong and Japan.

Four players who performed prominently in the Varsity Cup this year were selected in an effort to strengthen the injury-hit SA squad.

Cecil Afrika and Paul Delport are both unavailable because of knee injuries suffered in Hong Kong and Japan. The versatile Blommetjies will thus operate at flyhalf and wing.

There is also a recall for Free State utility back Philip Burger, whose last appearance for the Blitsbokke was in 2007.

Tighthead Okkie Kruger, another member of the Tuks outfit, is back in the mix as replacement for Boom Prinsloo. His previous appearance in a Bok Sevens jersey was during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.

Another debutant is Shimlas wing Ulengo Jamba, who got the nod ahead of Bernado Botha.

Jamba impressed the coaching staff the past two weeks with his high work rate and he will add some extra speed to the backline.

The other two newcomers, Cheslin Kolbe (SA Sevens Academy) and Ryan Nell (Maties), were essentially included to gain experience from travelling and training with the squad. Meanwhile, Steven Hunt makes a return to the squad after missing the Far East trip because of a family bereavement.

Coach Paul Treu said injuries and setbacks were part and parcel of the game but he was looking forward to see the new crop of players in action. “We have got to accept it, deal with it and move on. The newcomers adapted all very quickly and I am both excited and looking forward to see them play. The UK events will be tough because there have been so many tournaments winners already this season,” said Treu.

The South Africans are third on the World Series log on 105 points after seven tournaments.

New Zealand lead the way on 128, followed by Fiji on 122, SA, England on 104 and Samoa 101.

The Bok Sevens squad to Glasgow and London:

Chris Dry, Okkie Kruger, Frankie Horne, Pieter Engelbrecht, Cornal Hendricks, Kyle Brown (captain), Branco du Preez, Jamba Ulengo, Clayton Blommetjies, Philip Burger, Steven Hunt, Stephan Dippenaar, Cheslin Kolbe, Ryan Nell.

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