Ebersohn back for Blitzbokke
Promising Toyota Free State Cheetahs centre Robert Ebersohn makes a welcome return to the Springbok Sevens team after a two year absence since he helped the Blitzbokke to capture the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2009.
The Free Stater was on Friday included in a 14-man Springbok Sevens travelling squad for the first three rounds of the Series, which kicks off on 25-26 November at the Gold Coast in Brisbane and will be followed by tournaments in Dubai and Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth, on consecutive weekends.
Ebersohn joined the Cheetahs to play Absa Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby, but he gladly accepted an invitation from Paul Treu, the Springbok Sevens coach, to temporarily return to Sevens rugby until the end of this year.
He is one of several familiar faces returning to the Springbok Sevens fold for the tough opening stanza of the new season. Chase Minnaar is fit again and looking forward to establish himself as a regular after he missed the bulk of last season because of a motorcycle injury. Veteran attacker Renfred Dazel has shrugged off his knee problems which restricted his game time for much of 2011 and his availability will add much needed experience to the backline.
There is also a return to the national Sevens team for Sharks player Mark Richards, who made his international debut in 2010 in Dubai.
Newly signed Stephan Dippenaar sustained an ankle injury in a training match against the Maties on Wednesday and was therefore not selected, while 19-year old William Small-Smith got the nod again after he impressed during his first two tournaments in England and Scotland at the end of the previous season.
IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika, who is recovering from a broken cheekbone, was included in the travelling party but he will not be part of the final squad of 12 for the Gold Coast.
Paul Treu, Springbok Sevens coach, said his squad will fine tune their preparations during the remaining two weeks before the 2011/2012 kick-off in Australia. He spoke to media at the team announcement earlier on Friday at the Beyerskloof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
“We played less training matches this time compared to previous years, but we will fine-tune our preparations over the next two weeks so that we are ready and fully prepared for the first tournament,” explained Treu.
Squad departure to Brisbane is next Friday, 18 November.
The Springbok Sevens travelling squad for the first three rounds of the new HSBC Sevens World Series :
1. Chris Dry
2. Kyle Brown (captain)
3. Frankie Horne
4. Boom Prinsloo
5. Chase Minnaar
6. Paul Delport
7. Renfred Dazel
8. Mark Richards
9. Steven Hunt
10. Bernado Botha
11. Robert Ebersohn
12. William Small-Smith
13. Cecil Afrika
14. Branco du Preez