Blitzboks coach Neil Powell has explained his thinking behind selecting Hacjivah Dayimani in the squad for the Cape Town Sevens this weekend. DYLAN JACK reports.
Dayimani is set to make his Blitzboks debut this weekend after an impressive showing for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy in the Dubai International Invitational last weekend. He will be taking the place of Christie Grobbelaar, who travelled to Dubai as the 13th player.
It is an impressive rise for the 22-year-old, whose only other sevens experience came with the SA U18 squad in the 2015 Commonwealth Games, especially given that he was sharing the field with veterans Cecil Afrika, Werner Kok and Branco du Preez in Dubai.
Powell explained that Dayimani needs to be in action for the senior team in order to continue his development as a sevens player.
‘The plan was always to get him in for Cape Town,’ Powell said. ‘Even before we went to Dubai that was the communication to the respective players, to Hacjivah and to Cristi as well. We need to test him at this level.
‘The reason we did not select him for Dubai is that we felt like he would get more game time with the Academy side in the Invitational than with the senior side in the World Series. It is important for us to get him as much game time as possible.
‘I always say that training will only get the guys up to 70 or 80%, but that other 20 or 30% is playing games and making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.
‘So I am happy to pick him for this weekend after he has played in the Invitational team. He has really done well in the few games that I saw.’
While Dayimani is expected to return to the Lions for the 2020 Super Rugby season, Powell said they are negotiating and hoping to have him available for the following two tournaments in Hamilton and Sydney, which take place between the end of January and first weekend of February.
‘We will have to see. We only have him for these two tournaments, Dubai and Cape Town. We are hoping to have him for Sydney and Hamilton as well. That was the communication with the Lions. But I know that stuff does change and we help each other in South Africa in terms of player availability. So, if they do get injuries, it might be that he does go back to the Lions.
‘Hopefully, we can get him for Hamilton and Sydney. It is important for us to try and give him as much game time as possible.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) December 10, 2019
Powell will confirm his squad for the Cape Town Sevens on Thursday.