The most capped player in Blitzbok history, Branco du Preez, is back and raring to get stuck in for South Africa at the next two tournaments of the 2021-22 season.
Du Preez, out of action since January when he suffered a shoulder injury at the Spain Sevens, has been included in the 13-man Springbok Sevens squad for the upcoming tournaments in France (20-22 May) and England (28-29 May).
Du Preez, set to appear in his 80th World Series tournament, has played in 400 matches and amassed 1,409 career points, second only to Cecil Afrika (1,462).
Du Preez’s next try will mark his 100th for South Africa. Meanwhile, try-scoring outside back Muller du Plessis, who last played on the circuit in December 2021, will also return from a long-term injury lay-off (broken leg).
South Africa have won four of the six tournaments played so far and are leading the World Series with three tournaments remaining – France, England and USA.
Coach Neil Powell has also called up Tiaan Pretorius, who made his debut in Dubai in 2021, with the 21-year-old coming into the forwards to provide cover for the injured duo of Sakoyisa Makata and Christie Grobbelaar.
“We got experience back with the inclusion of Branco and Muller, who were both regular starters before their injuries, so they will add to our depth in the backs,” said Powell.
“We have two forwards out in Sako and Christie, so Tiaan will get another opportunity. I am hoping for a similar effort from him than the last time he played in Dubai.”
Du Preez is focused on the task at hand: “We need to bounce back from the last two performances, and I am determined to contribute to that effort.”
Blitzboks squad for France Sevens:
1. James Murphy – 7 tournaments, 26 matches, 20 points
2. Ryan Oosthuizen – 29 tournaments, 138 matches, 150 points
3. Impi Visser – 19 tournaments, 96 matches, 95 points
4. Zain Davids – 30 tournaments, 151 matches, 145 points
5. Tiaan Pretorius – 2 tournaments, 7 matches, 5 points
6. JC Pretorius – 18 tournaments, 96 matches, 210 points
7. Branco du Preez – 79 tournaments, 400 matches, 1409 points
8. Selvyn Davids – 27 tournaments, 141 matches, 564 points
9. Ronald Brown – 6 tournaments, 35 matches, 232 points
10. Dewald Human – 15 tournaments, 66 matches, 195 points
11. Siviwe Soyizwapi – 37 tournaments, 193 matches, 625 points
12. Muller du Plessis – 16 tournaments, 78 matches, 285 points
13. Mfundo Ndhlovu – 8 tournaments, 37 matches, 40 points