Branco du Preez has been called up to the Blitzboks squad as a replacement for the injured Muller du Plessis ahead of this weekend’s Hamilton Sevens.
Du Plessis joined the squad earlier this week in place of the injured Ruhan Nel. But the promising youngster has now been denied a potential debut after pulling up with a hamstring strain in training on Thursday.
Du Preez, who has played in 57 Sevens Series tournaments, will link up with the team on Friday.
Meanwhile, coach Neil Powell is sweating over the availability of Kwagga Smith, who is still in discomfort after rolling his ankle in training earlier in the week. A final call on Smith’s participation will be made on Friday.
‘Unfortunately, we lost Muller now, so he will not be part of the squad. He will, however, stay with us to get a good look at the way we operate during tournaments and how we prepare. It will be a good experience for him, although he will not be able to play,’ Powell said.
‘The senior players will have to make another step up, given the misfortunes we had this week. We are happy with our log position [leading the series] as this is an indication that we are doing some things right, but we always strive for improvement, so this weekend will be another opportunity to do so.
‘As the guys were sore and stiff early in the week, we managed to get through a lot of discussion and analysis on what happened in Sydney and how we want to play in Hamilton. I am happy with the work done and the field sessions were also productive.’
The Blitzboks face Papua New Guinea (00:44 SA time), Russia (04:32) and England (08:06) in Pool B of the tournament on Saturday. The playoffs will be on Sunday.
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