Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell named an unchanged tournament squad for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens, which kicks off on Friday at the Cape Town Stadium.
Siviwe Soyizwapi will lead the same 11 men on the field that left Dubai last weekend as gold medal winners, a feat that will see them running out in front of their home fans as first seeds and early leaders in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Powell said there was no real need to change the squad after they did so well in Dubai.
“We did bring in Hacjivah Dayimani as 13th player as we wanted to give him a feel for the World Series, but his ankle injury put paid to that idea,” Powell explained.
“Impi Visser will be our official reserve this time around and I am quite comfortable having him around. He played very well for us last season and will be ready to slot in if needed.”
Powell said the good performance by the squad pleased him as coach, especially the way the team bonded as the tournament progressed.
“We certainly played better as the tournament progressed, but this weekend we start at zero again,” said Powell.
“The players realise that last week’s performance will not mean anything this week. We are playing three very capable opponents and will have to be at our very best just to get out of our pool.
“Japan is a difficult opponent to start against and Fiji and USA were the top two teams in last year’s series.”
The Blitzboks kick off their campaign at 20h03 against Japan on Friday evening, while Fiji (13h51) and the USA (20h03) await on Saturday. Tickets for the first two days of the tournament are still available from Computicket.
The Blitzbok squad for the HSBC Cape Town Sevens is:
1. Chris Dry (69 tournaments, 348 matches; 480 points, 96 tries)
2. Ryan Oosthuizen (18 tournaments, 89 matches; 95 points, 19 tries)
3. Dylan Sage (25 tournaments, 140 matches; 155 points, 31 tries)
4. Zain Davids (19 tournaments, 94 matches; 65 points, 13 tries)
5. JC Pretorius (six tournaments, 33 matches; 60 points; 12 tries)
6. Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain; 29 tournaments, 151 matches; 460 points, 92 tries)
7. Selvyn Davids (15 tournaments, 75 matches; 319 points; 32 tries, 78 conversions, 1 penalty)
8. Rosko Specman (29 tournaments, 156 matches; 400 points; 74 tries, 15 conversions)
9. Justin Geduld (47 tournaments, 245 matches; 978 points; 107 tries, 220 conversions, 1 penalty)
10. Kurt-Lee Arendse (five tournaments, 22 matches; 45 points, nine tries)
11. Seabelo Senatla (40 tournaments, 207 matches; 1135 points, 227 tries)
12. Ruhan Nel (29 tournaments, 153 matches; 252 points; 50 tries, 1 conversion)
13. Impi Visser (10 tournaments, 55 matches, 65 points, 13 tries) – official reserve
• Seabelo Senatla (227) is the leading Blitzboks try-scorer of all time and could extend his tally this weekend.
• Justin Geduld needs 22 points to become the fourth Blitzbok in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to score 1000 career points. Cecil Afrika (1440), Branco du Preez (1302) and Senatla (1153) are the others.
• South Africa will meet Japan at 20h03 in their opening Pool A clash. The teams have met 24 times, with the Blitzboks winning 23 of those at an average score of 36-4. Japan scored a 24-19 win in Tokyo in 2000.