Captain Kyle Brown believes the Blitzboks' newcomers acquitted themselves extremely well during last weekend’s opening leg of the Sevens Series.
Francois Hougaard made his sevens debut and scored the match-winning try in the Plate final, while Juan de Jongh produced a solid showing on his return to the Blitzboks fold for the first time since making his only appearance for the side in 2008.
Cheslin Kolbe was another regular 15s player who impressed with some typically electric pieces of play as he stepped into a key role in the absence of injured Cecil Afrika.
‘They were shifted around and tested in different situations, which was important,’ Brown commented in the lead-up to this weekend’s Cape Town Sevens leg. ‘Juan and Hougie played in different positions and both put their hands up, while Cheslin was just phenomenal after Cecil’s injury.’
Brown also commended the performance of Benjamin, who made his return to the sevens scene in what was his 30th Sevens Series tournament appearance.
‘Ryno’s work ethic is second to none and that’s one of the reasons we brought him in. He’s a great guy to play alongside.’
Although the Bltizboks only just managed to clinch victory in the Dubai Plate final, and will be without injured players Werner Kok and Afrika this weekend, Brown said they would still head into the Cape Town Sevens with reason to feel confident.
‘I thought we played some really good rugby in Dubai, and after beating Argentina and Australia I feel we gathered some good momentum at the end of the tournament. With four new guys in the squad, it was good to get them in and provide them with an opportunity to start and get some game time under the belt. So I don’t think it was a disappointing showing at all, and now we just want to embrace the energy of playing at home.’
Photo: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images