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Rugby | Sevens

Frankie Horne © Gallo Images

Young SA side ready to challenge



With several regulars missing through injury, Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu will be hoping his reshuffled squad will challenge at the Wellington Sevens, which starts on Friday morning in the New Zealand capital.

Regular captain Kyle Brown is out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

Influential playmakers Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez, as well as versatile outside back Stephen Hunt, have not travelled with the squad for rounds four and five of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington and Las Vegas (next weekend), due to injuries.

Veteran forward Frankie Horne will lead the team in his SA record-breaking 45th consecutive World Series tournament for the Springboks Sevens, while Treu will also turn to seasoned internationals such as Chris Dry and Paul Delport to provide the leadership for an otherwise young group of players.

The absence of several injured stalwarts have meanwhile opened the door for two more youngsters, Justin Geduld and Seabelo Senatla, to make their World Series debuts for South Africa.

The two 19-year-olds are the most recent additions to the contracted group of Springbok Sevens players. The two of them and Cheslin Kolbe are also part of the current South Africa Under-20 training squad.

Speaking from Wellington, Treu said on Wednesday his squad had prepared well since their arrival in New Zealand, despite a heat wave.

"The youngsters offer us a lot of options and they bring a different kind of energy, so from that aspect I am very pleased," explained Treu.

He hinted the Springbok Sevens would stick to their attacking game plan, which so far had yielded the most number of tries of all the teams in the competition.

"We have worked hard on creating opportunities and our tries tally so far this season is proof of that. We have scored more tries and conceded less than the teams that are above us on the log, but the difference between us and the front runners at the moment is that they have managed to win those crucial matches on day two when it mattered," said Treu.

"Our team has spoken a lot of those small margins for error and if we can manage to keep our focus throughout and keep on creating opportunities, then we will be a threat here (in Wellington) and Las Vegas."

As top-seeds in Pool C, the South Africans will get their tournament under way on Friday morning against Samoa, followed by matches against Canada and Wales.

SEVENS SQUAD: Chris Dry, Philip Snyman, Frankie Horne (captain), Warren Whiteley, Cornal Hendricks, Pieter Engelbrecht, Stephan Dippenaar, Justin Geduld, Paul Delport, Cheslin Kolbe, Tshotsho Mbovane, Seabelo Senatla.

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