Blitzboks duo back in business

Werner Kok and Frankie Horne will have a chance to prove their fitness ahead of the Olympics at this weekend's Rome Sevens.

The SA Sevens Academy team arrived in Italy on Tuesday for the tournament at the Acqua Acetosa Stadium.

'We have a number of objectives in this tournament and I am excited to see how it will work out for us,' said coach Marius Schoeman, who will be joined in Rome by Blitzboks coach Neil Powell.

'There are a number of contracted Blitzboks, such as Frankie Horne and Werner Kok, who are making comebacks after being injured for a long time and others such as Branco du Preez, Sandile Ncgobo and Siviwe Soyizwapi who are short of game time.

'The likes of Lungelo Gosa, Dewald Human as well as new selections Luke van der Smit and Ryan Oosthuizen can prove that they are good enough to get contracts. A number of regulars will move on after Rio and will have to be replaced. So there is something in the tournament for every player.'

The SA Sevens Academy has won the last three times they played in Rome.

'We have a number of tough opponents to deal with this time around, as other teams are also using this as an opportunity to fine-tune for the Olympics,' said Schoeman. 'We are obviously keen to see how Werner handles the tournament. He has last played in December, so we need to look after him well. The same applies to Frankie and we will manage their workload during the tournament.

'As important for me is the performances of Luke and Ryan. Luke showed great promise playing for Tuks this year and Ryan was a member of our team that won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games. We have some work to do this week and is determined to leave our mark and achieve our objectives.'

SA Rugby Sevens Academy – Frankie Horne, Sandile Ngcobo (c), Luke van der Smit, Ryan Oosthuizen, Stephan Dippenaar, Branco du Preez, Donovan du Randt, Lungelo Gosa, Spamandla Ngcobo, Dewald Human, Werner Kok, Siviwe Soyizwapi.

Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt