SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach Sandile Ngcobo says the planned sevens tournaments for 2021 will bring a sense of anticipation and relief, allowing teams to measure the progress they’ve made this year.
Ngcobo was named as Academy head coach earlier this month and will lead his troops into action for the first time when they join the Springbok Sevens, the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport Sevens Academy and Russian club side Narvskaya Zastava in a mini tournament at Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch on Friday.
‘We have a number of new players in the Academy, so this will be a good outing for us to see how they shape up,’ said Ngcobo.
‘A number of players are coming back from injury and some have returned from playing fifteens, so everyone will have a different objective in that regard. The nice thing about this tournament is that all the squads are in the same position and keen to get on the field.
‘It is a first time out for all of us, so there are excitement and eagerness, no doubt,’ added Ngcobo.
The Blitzboks had their trip to Spain cancelled due to a Covid-19 travel ban and for their head coach, Neil Powell, Friday’s matches will be a valuable substitute as they prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Russians are coached by former Blitzbok Vuyo Zangqa and they travelled to Stellenbosch for a training camp, while the local SAS Academy will have former Blitzboks captain Frankie Horne and Philip Snyman at the helm. They will also be playing matches for the first time since assembling at the beginning of the year.
‘For the Academy it will be a tournament where we not only get the chance to face the Blitzboks, who are of international standard, but some overseas opponents in Vuyo’s squad as well as some serious talent in the SAS squad.’
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