Blitzboks hold World Cup 'trials' in Joburg

Cape Town - Coach Neil Powell is using the Springbok Sevens training camp in Johannesburg to fine-tune his selection options for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco, USA from 20-22 July.

The Blitzboks are currently preparing for the showpiece, where 24 teams will compete for the Melrose Cup, in Sandton as they combine altitude training with intensive match sessions in the mild weather in Gauteng. The team will play against the Golden Lions Sevens on Thursday in a number of warm-up matches.

“We have sixteen players here and it’s important to see how some of them who were injured, react to training and playing matches before we can make a call on their possible inclusion in the final 12-man squad that will travel to the USA,” said Powell.

“Rosko Specman, Chris Dry and Selvyn Davids need to show that they carry no effects from the injuries that ruled them out of the last couple of tournaments in the World Series. They are also keen to be part of the group and they brought good energy back into the mix. Players such as Rosko and Chris always bring smiles to faces and it is nice having that energy.”

The Blitzboks won the World Rugby Sevens Series earlier this month when they claimed the Paris Sevens, and were crowned series champions for the second successive season.

“We want to improve on individual play within the group, but also fix some of the issues we picked up during the series,” said Powell.

“It is pretty wet in Cape Town at the moment, so the conditions here make it easier for us to focus on the rugby and not to worry about the muddy fields back home.

“We hope to get four to six proper chukkas against the Golden Lions on Thursday. Then it’s only two weeks before we leave for the USA.”

Springbok Sevens captain Philip Snyman said the team is in a good space and keen to get to San Francisco.

“We have now properly discussed the World Series win and the way in which we came back from the death to snatch it,” said Snyman, who could play in his third Rugby World Cup Sevens.

“Winning the series gave us a big boost and it will help with our confidence. Guys such as Rosko, Chris and Selvyn are also bringing some nice enthusiasm back into the squad.

“However, we have to start all over and afresh for this one. Once-off tournaments provide different challenges and we have to prepare accordingly. This will be about one weekend, not eight months like the World Series, so we have to adjust to that.”

South Africa’s Rugby World Cup Sevens training squad: Philip Snyman, Heino Bezuidenhout, Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, Ryan Oosthuizen, James Murphy, Werner Kok, Dewald Human, Rosko Specman, Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld, Selvyn Davids, Ruhan Nel, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Chris Dry

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