Neil Powell has made three rotational changes to the Blitzbok squad for the Los Angeles and Vancouver Sevens tournaments.
Ryan Oosthuizen, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Mfundo Ndhlovu have been included in the travelling squad at the expense of Justin Geduld, Chris Dry and Zain David, who are all being rested after featuring in all four tournaments of the series (Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton and Sydney) so far.
Oosthuizen (in for Dry) and Arendse (in for Geduld) both played in the opening two tournaments of the season, while Ndhlovu last played in Paris last year when the 2018-19 World Series concluded.
Ndhlovu will travel west as official reserve, with Sako Makata elevated into the starting team to take over from Davids.
Stedman Gans will again captain the side in the absence of Siviwe Soyizwapi, who just missed the return-to-play deadline for this trip.
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Powell said they needed to adjust their plans with the news that the Hong Kong and Singapore legs of the series have been rescheduled, but some rest for players were always on the cards.
‘Justin, Chris and Zain played a lot of rugby so far and were always going to get a rest this trip,’ said Powell.
‘Ryan is very keen to get back into the action, Kurt-Lee has recovered from the knock that kept him out of the previous trip and Sako deserves his chance after travelling as the extra player to New Zealand and Australia.
‘Mfundo is also back to full fitness and with Angelo Davids also able to play in the forwards, we called on his skills out wide for this trip. We want to give all players a fair opportunity to stake a claim for the Olympic Games.’
Meanwhile, Werner Kok’s inclusion will have him play in his 50th World Rugby Sevens Series tournament, following in the footsteps of Branco du Preez, Chris Dry, Kyle Brown, Frankie Horne, Cecil Afrika, Philip Snyman and Justin Geduld.
The inclusion of Du Preez means that he will extend the SA record for tournament appearances in the World Series to 74. Afrika could also extend his career points record for the Blitzboks (1,445).
The Blitzboks, currently second on the overall log, have been drawn in the same pool as Kenya, Canada and Ireland at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Los Angeles.
Blitzboks squad – Angelo Davids, Ryan Oosthuizen, Impi Visser, Sako Makata, Werner Kok, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cecil Afrika, Muller du Plessis, Stedman Gans, Mfundo Ndhlovu.