Siviwe Soyizwapi will lead an experienced Blitzboks squad in the Oktoberfest Sevens tournament in Munich next weekend.
Neil Powell has named a strong team laden with regulars in the Sevens Series over the past two seasons, with the two most experienced players in the country – Chris Dry and Branco du Preez – included in the trip to Germany.
Also returning to the squad are Zain Davids, Mfundo Ndhlovu, James Murphy and Stedman Gans, who were all injured in the latter stages of last season.
Powell said the squad reflected the status of his training squad at the moment as he was limited in selection.
‘We have guys coming back from injury, we have some experienced campaigners and we have some young guys keen to make their mark and could be stars in the future,’ Powell said.
‘Some of the players who were involved with their provinces in the recent Currie Cup and age-group competitions were not yet considered, while the likes of Cecil Afrika and Justin Geduld are still in rehabilitation from injuries sustained last season. Players like Mfundo and James have not played much for us during the previous season, so this is a nice early opportunity for them to stake a claim for the new season. They are coming back from injury and will be eager to get involved.’
Powell plans to use the German tournament to experiment with small technical changes.
‘There are a couple of tweaks we are implementing and I want to see how they work out for us. We are still in a conditioning phase, so we know we will not be as sharp as we can be, but that is not the end of the world. We are building towards the start of the season, so if there are mistakes, it will be a good pointer for us.’
South Africa are in Pool A with New Zealand, England and Australia for the tournament, which will take place in the Olympic Stadium. Pool B consists of Germany, Fiji, USA and France.
Powell and his team depart for Munich next Wednesday.
Blitzboks squad: Siviwe Soyizwapi (c), Chris Dry, Ryan Oosthuizen, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, James Murphy, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Dewald Human, Stedman Gans.