Frankie Horne has included three Kings players in his SX10 squad for the upcoming Bermuda Tens series in October.
The 10-a-side World Tens Series comprises eight privately-owned teams from around the globe, featuring world-class players. The format offers opportunities for players from both the XV and 7-a-side codes of rugby to play a new form of the sport combining the tactics of rugby 15s with the skills of 7s.
The first round of matches is scheduled for 24-25 October, followed by round two, taking place from 31 October to 1 November. The final will be played at the National Sports Centre on 7 November.
Former Blitzboks forward Horne will be coaching a largely South African-filled SX10 squad, which also includes a number of high-profile Kenyan sevens stars and players from America’s Major League.
The squad will also give an opportunity to three Kings players – lock Tienie Burger, centre JT Jackson and wing Christian Ambadiang – to stretch their legs after their team withdrew from South Africa’s domestic tournaments due to financial difficulties.
‘We have gone for an all-African affair, pretty much, just to give the African boys an opportunity,’ Horne told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘The Kings being in the situation that they are in, a lot of their guys were available so we wanted to create a bit of a feel-good there and help them out, give them some playing opportunities.
‘We have a portion of our players coming from the Kings. Unfortunately, CJ Velleman had to withdraw because he went on loan with the Griquas. But we have the lock Tienie Burger and centre JT Jackson. Another big name is Christian Ambadiang, who grew up in Cameroon, he is a massive unit who has been at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport for injury recovery.
‘We also have a few guys from the Kenya Sevens set-up, just because there is no sevens happening. SA Sevens were quite strict with their players and weren’t going to release them, because of the preparation for the Olympics. But we have got some good names – Oscar Ouma, a regular feature, Andrew Amonde and Oscar Dennis, who was in my sevens programme a year ago.’
Two high-profile South Africans from the Major League are JP du Plessis – older brother of Blitzbok speedster Muller – and former Stormers back Joe Pietersen, who both play for San Diego Legion in the USA.
Recently retired Blitzbok playmaker Cecil Afrika will also offer his expertise and vast knowledge to the squad.
‘A lot of the guys have been begging for this opportunity and should be fairly fit,’ Horne added. ‘You will have unlimited subs and there are a couple of Varsity Cup-style rules where you get more points for a kick, depending on where you kick from.
‘This is the tournament that the guys have needed, it’s the injection that rugby has needed. The pro set-up of 10s is a bit of a sleeping giant. It gives guys contracted opportunities to play professional. Also, being in the second half of the year, it’s perfect for the sevens guys as well as the guys from America’s Major League. It opens up opportunities. ‘
Forwards: Frikkie De Beer, Oscar Ouma, Jacques Du Toit, Thinus Van Zyl, Cory Daniel, Andrew Amonde, Tienie Burger, Gary Porter, Harry McNulty.
Backs: Luke Treharne, Craig Hunt, Cecil Afrika, Joe Pietersen, Oscar Dennis, JT Jackson, JP Du Plessis, Willy Ambaka, Collins Injera, Christian Ambadiang, Dewald Naude.