Blitzboks coach Neil Powell has named a relatively inexperienced training squad for the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco in July.
The team will be without the services of Chris Dry, Kyle Brown, Cecil Afrika and Seabelo Senatla, who are all unavailable due to injury.
Dry was unable to recover in time after injuring his knee at the Cape Town Sevens in December, while Brown (knee), Afrika (hamstring) and Senatla (groin) sustained their respective injuries in the latter part of the campaign.
Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman will again lead the side in what will be his third consecutive World Cup campaign. Branco du Preez, who was part of the 2013 World Cup squad, has also been included.
Powell lamented the loss of experienced senior players, but said the emergence of several younger players in the squad came at the right time.
‘We used 28 players during the Sevens Series for this specific reason,’ said Powell.
‘With three major tournaments in one season [the Commonwealth Games was played in April], we realised that player welfare and management would be key for us to be successful in those events. That policy paid off, I believe, as we still have a very competent squad, despite the loss of a number of star players.
‘The next couple of weeks will be about player management. We will have to fine-tune some aspects of our game, but I am pretty happy with the way we finished the series, playing in both finals in London and Paris and of course winning in France, despite having three players out and replaced between the two tournaments.’
Blitzboks 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.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) June 22, 2018
Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images