Branco du Preez will make history when he becomes South Africa’s most capped Blitzbok ever at the London Sevens this weekend.
Du Preez will take to the field in his 70th tournament, with games against Japan, Canada and Argentina awaiting in Pool A on Saturday.
‘Branco is one of the best examples of what the team stand for and the values we treasure,’ coach Neil Powell commented.
‘He will always put the team first, and every time he gets knocked down he gets up stronger and more determined. He is not only a world-class player, but someone who will always try to create a positive environment within the team and our surroundings.’
The Blitzboks come into the tournament with some momentum, having won the previous event in Singapore, but for Powell, the need to start fresh is important.
‘We must start over from scratch and make sure our processes are in place and that we stick to that. I am excited about the ability of the squad and am keen to see them play,’ said Powell.
*The Blitzboks will be wearing pink strapping around their wrists in the match against Japan to show their solidarity and support for squad member Ronald Brown. The SA Rugby Sevens Academy player started chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last week.
The Springbok Sevens squad: 1. Ryan Oosthuizen (15 tournaments, 72 matches, 80 points, 16 tries), 2. Sako Makata (4 tournaments, 16 matches, 5 points, one try), 3. Impi Visser (8 tournaments, 45 matches, 50 points, 10 tries), 4. Kurt-Lee Arendse (3 tournaments, 12 matches, 25 points, 5 tries), 5. Werner Kok (45 tournaments, 229 matches, 510 points, 102 tries), 6. JC Pretorius (3 tournaments, 16 matches, 40 points, 8 tries), 7. Branco du Preez (69 tournaments, 350 matches, 1253 points, 91 tries, 396 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 drop goal), 8. Selvyn Davids (13 tournaments, 64 matches, 272 points, 29 tries, 62 conversions, 1 penalty), 9. Justin Geduld (44 tournaments, 228 matches, 929 points, 99 tries, 214 conversions, 1 penalty), 10. Stedman Gans (17 tournaments, 80 matches, 120 points, 24 tries), 11. Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain; 26 tournaments, 134 matches, 415 points, 83 tries), 12. Muller du Plessis (8 tournaments, 33 matches, 105 points, 21 tries), 13. Philip Snyman (60 tournaments, 272 matches, 366 points, 67 tries, 14 conversions, 1 penalty) – travelling reserve.
- The Blitzboks won the HSBC London Sevens in 2005 and 2011.
- Branco du Preez will become the most capped Springbok Sevens player of all time, playing in his 70th tournament. Kyle Brown (69), Frankie Horne and Chris Dry (68) are next on the list.
- Du Preez is also set to extend his Blitzboks record for career conversions (396), the most by any South African player.
The Blitzboks’ schedule on Saturday (SA times): 12:20pm: Japan, 3:26pm: Canada, 6:32pm: Argentina.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix