Habana, Kanko get sevens nod

Springboks Bryan Habana and Ryan Kankowski have been included in the Blitzboks' 13-man squad for the next two rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

The popular Las Vegas tournament takes place from 4 to 6 March in the USA and will be followed by the inaugural event in Vancouver, Canada, on 12 and 13 March.

Habana was released by his French club side Toulon to play for the Springbok Sevens in the next two rounds of the series, while Kankowski recently joined the squad on a full-time basis, at the conclusion of the Japanese club season.

Apart from the inclusion of the experienced Springbok duo, the squad was further boosted by the return of several other Springbok Sevens stalwarts. Regular skipper Kyle Brown has shrugged off his shoulder injury and takes over the captaincy from Philip Snyman, who himself is sitting out the next two rounds after hurting his shoulder in Sydney.

Meanwhile, Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld as well as the versatile Ruhan Nel all return to the squad as part of the team’s rotational policy. Afrika (hamstring) and Geduld (shoulder) are fit again after suffering injuries in previous tournaments.

Du Preez is picked for the first time this season, having successfully completed his rehabilitation programme after a shoulder operation last year.

Coach Neil Powell said he was excited by the make-up of the squad.

'Bryan and Ryan bring an extra dimension to the squad. Both are experienced Springboks and they add a lot of other rugby intelligence to our system. Both are eager to learn and I am looking forward to see how they perform in the World Series.'

Blitzboks squad – Chris Dry, Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba, Kwagga Smith, Bryan Habana, Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez, Rosco Speckman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Ryan Kankowski.

Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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