Blitzboks duo Philip Snyman and Ruhan Nel have been ruled out of the Hamilton Sevens tournament this weekend due to injury.
Captain Snyman sustained a hamstring injury on day three of the Sydney Sevens, while Nel suffered a knee injury. Both players have returned to South Africa to start with rehabilitation immediately. Kyle Brown has been appointed interim captain in Snyman’s absence.
Zain Davids and Muller du Plessis – both products of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy – have been called up to the Blitzboks squad for the Hamilton event. They will depart for New Zealand on Monday.
Coach Neil Powell says losing experienced players such as Snyman and Nel was a setback, but that they can’t dwell on the negatives.
‘Zain will slot in at tighthead in a straight swap with Philip,’ said Powell. ‘He played in those two SA Sevens Academy tournament victories in South America at the beginning of the month and did really well. He will also be very keen to become a permanent fixture in the team, so we are looking for some positive performances from him.
‘Muller can learn and even play when called upon. He only finished school last year and is highly rated, having played SA Schools and for the Sevens Academy recently. He is very talented and has a bright future and I think he will become a very good addition to our squad. The sooner we expose him to this level of play, the better.’
The Blitzboks face Papua New Guinea, Russia and England in Pool B of the tournament on Saturday. The playoffs will be on Sunday.