Stedman Gans returns for Blitzboks, eyes Tokyo Olympics berth

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Blitzboks star Stedman Gans (Getty Images)
Blitzboks star Stedman Gans (Getty Images)
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Bulls midfielder Stedman Gans will return from injury for the Blitzboks and eyes a spot on coach Neil Powell's Tokyo Olympics squad.

Gans, the Springbok Sevens Player of the Year for 2020, was injured in a preparation series encounter against the Stormers.

The initial prognosis was that Gans would spend at least three months on the sidelines, already missing the ongoing Rainbow Cup.

The recovery process was tricky but puts him on a fine timeline to be fit and ready for the Springboks Sevens for next month's Olympic Games, starting from 23 July.

The 24-year-old dreamt of travelling to Japan as part of the Blitzboks squad, hoping to improve on their bronze medal in Rio 2016.

"I want to put my name in the hat for that squad, no doubt about that," said Gans.

"That was driving me during the rehabilitation process. The Olympic Games, for me, is the biggest sporting occasion for any athlete and I really want to be part of that. 

Gans was part of the 16-man Blitzboks squad that on Sunday will depart for Johannesburg and their final two-week training camp.

Next Friday, Gans will lace up his boots and run onto the playing field for the first time since March.

He will need to show his ability to Blitzbok coach Powell during the two weekends of match action against the Lions Sevens and SA All Stars Sevens Academy teams. 

"I know I need to show the coach that I am ready, but that can easily result in me trying too hard to impress and making mistakes or not doing that the system require," said Gans.

"So, I will be mindful of that and not put too much pressure on myself in the next two weeks.

"I need to focus on doing what I do best and that will give me the best chance to be named come the final squad announcement."

Apart from Gans, Mfundo Ndhlovu returned from injury, while Dylan Sage returned from France last week to push for a spot in the final squad.

Apart from the 16 players travelling to Johannesburg on Sunday, Ryan Oosthuizen, Selvyn Davids and Siviwe Soyizwapi will join the squad next Thursday as they are busy with rehabilitation in Stellenbosch. 

Blitzbok squad: 

Chris Dry, Dylan Sage, Ruhan Nel, Impi Visser, Dewald Human, Justin Geduld, Stedman Gans, Muller du Plessis, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Sakoyisa Makata, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Angelo Davids, Ronald Brown, Lubabalo Dobela, Zain Davids, JC Pretorius

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