The Springbok Sevens have announced an unchanged squad for the defence of their home Cup title, the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament.
Port Elizabeth will host Round 3 of the HSBC Sevens World Series at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this coming weekend on 13 and 14 December.
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell and his squad will also attempt to become the first South African team to successfully defend their home title.
The Springbok Sevens captured the Dubai crown last weekend with some sparking displays on day-two in the famous desert city, defeating Argentina, New Zealand and Australia during their successful march to the Cup.
That display enabled South Africa to move two places up the World Series log standings into second place where they are now just two points behind leaders Fiji, who lead with 39 points.
In naming an unchanged squad, Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said the decision was easy after their success in Dubai.
“The players all deserve to be in the squad after that performance in Dubai. Every World Series tournament is an extremely tough and demanding event and there is no room for complacency,” cautioned Powell.
He added: “It is wonderful for the squad to play on home soil, in front of our own supporters. The players have really enjoyed their stay in the City and the support we have received so far is fantastic. We hope to make them proud again this weekend,” said Powell.
The top four teams on the final log standings at the end of the nine-tournament World Series will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Several Blitzboks will surpass some unique milestones this weekend. Playmaker Cecil Afrika needs just 12 more points to better the all-time points scoring record of 925 held by Blitzboks legend Fabian Juries.
Branco du Preez will play in his 35th tournament this weekend, which places him on the SA Sevens honours board alongside the likes of Juries, Marius Schoeman, Mzwandile Stick and Frankie Horne.
South Africa are the top seeds in Pool A and will battle it out for a group qualification place against Wales, the USA and Kenya.
Springbok Sevens day-one fixtures on Saturday are:
- 12h42 – vs USA
- 15h58 – vs Kenya
- 19h58 – vs Wales
The Springbok Sevens team to play in the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth (Round 3 of the HSBC Sevens World Series – WS caps in brackets):
- Ruhan Nel (2)
- Philip Snyman (26)
- Frankie Horne (61)
- Kwagga Smith (8)
- Werner Kok (11)
- Kyle Brown (41, captain)
- Branco du Preez (34)
- Rayno Benjamin (26)
- Warrick Gelant (1)
- Cecil Afrika (32)
- Seabelo Senatla (12)
- Cheslin Kolbe (7)
Frankie Horne is the only player in the history of the HSBC Sevens World Series to play 61 consecutive tournaments. He will extend that record to 62 in PE.
Cecil Afrika (914*) could pass Fabian Juries (925) as the top points scorer for the Blitzboks in the HSBC Sevens World Series
Ruhan Nel became the 155th player to represent South Africa in the World Series in the Gold Coast and Warrick Gelant, who made his debut in Dubai, is the 156th.
South Africa are the defending Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens champions
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