Juan de Jongh and Francois Hougaard have been included in the Blitzboks’ 12-man squad for the opening two legs of the World Series in Dubai and Cape Town.
The first stop of the 10-tournament series takes place on 4-5 December in Dubai, and the second leg in Cape Town the week after.
Hougaard has played in 35 Tests for the Springboks and recently joined the sevens squad on a one-year contract, with the speedster set to make his World Series debut in Dubai. De Jongh has returned to the Springbok Sevens fold for the first time since making his first and only appearance for the side in Wellington in 2008.
Werner Kok, the newly-crowned World Sevens Player of the Year, Cheslin Kolbe and last season’s top-try scorer on the World Series circuit, Seabelo Senatla, will combine with regular stalwarts Cecil Afrika, Justin Geduld and Ryno Benjamin to form a potent Blitzboks backline attack.
Kyle Brown, Philip Snyman, Kwagga Smith and Chris Dry will provide the necessary steel upfront and complete a strong squad that will be going out to defend their crown in Dubai.
That forward lineup means there is no place for veteran Frankie Horne, who will instead run out for the Saru Sevens Academy side in the Dubai international tournament. The omission of Horne brings to an end an incredible run of 68 consecutive World Series tournaments, while the players not considered because of injury are Branco du Preez (shoulder), Warren Whiteley (calf) and Oupa Mohoje (knee).
Coach Neil Powell said it was an extremely tough task to reduce the large training group to just 12 players for the first two tournaments of the season.
'The entire training group worked very hard and the competiveness amongst the group of players made this my toughest selection job yet. I am confident that the squad we are taking to Dubai and Cape Town will give a good account of themselves. This is the most important sevens season ever, with the bigger World Series set to be even tougher than last season. I think teams would want to position themselves for the 2016 Olympic Games, meaning there will be little room for error.'
Blitzboks squad for Dubai and Cape Town – Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Francois Hougaard, Kwagga Smith, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown (c), Cheslin Kolbe, Ryno Benjamin, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Juan de Jongh.