Injury rules out Blitzboks’ Branco du Preez for next two events
Sizzling stepper Branco du Preez will miss the Australasian leg of the 2017/18 World Sevens Series after suffering a hamstring strain in training.
It’s a blow for the Blitzboks‚ who head into the third leg of the 10-tournament series in Sydney later this week two points behind New Zealand at the top of the standings.
The same squad will travel to Hamilton in New Zealand for the series’ fourth round.
Stedman Gans‚ who played for the Blitzboks on their way to the last season’s World Series title‚ will replace Du Preez.
Gans was in good form for the Academy team that won two tournaments in South America over the past two weeks and is a like-for-like replacement for Du Preez.
Fit-again forward Dylan Sage replaces forward Chris Dry‚ who suffered a season-ending knee injury at last month’s Cape Town sevens‚ in the only other change to the squad.
Stormers flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ who has yet to earn a full Springbok sevens cap‚ will travel with the squad as reserve.
Notshe‚ who joined the squad in October‚ will return to Super Rugby upon his return‚ as will three other squad regulars‚ Tim Agaba (Bulls)‚ Kwagga Smith (Lions) and Seabelo Senatla (Stormers).
“We made the call to take Sikhumbuzo along as reserve player in order for him to get first-hand experience of what a World Series tournament is all about and he will be called upon if anyone picks up an injury‚” coach Neil Powell said.
“Dylan has been training solidly over the last couple of weeks‚ while Stedman was in very good form for the Academy side in South America‚ so I am expecting solid contributions from them next weekend.
“We are losing four players to their Super Rugby teams after the Hamilton tournament‚ so we need a strong tour in order to stay in contention for the overall title.”
Philip Snyman‚ who will be playing in his 50th World Series tournament for the Blitzboks‚ will again lead the side.
They depart for Sydney on Saturday. The Springbok Sevens team for the HSBC Sydney Sevens:
1. Tim Agaba (12 tournaments‚ 61 matches‚ 50 points‚ 10 tries)
2. Philip Snyman (captain – 49 tournaments‚ 219 matches‚ 58 tries‚ 321 points)
3. Dylan Sage (17 tournaments‚ 93 matches‚ 100 points‚ 20 tries)
4. Kwagga Smith (29 tournaments‚ 147 matches‚ 300 points‚ 60 tries)
5. Werner Kok (31 tournaments‚ 163 matches‚ 365 points‚ 73 tries)
6. Kyle Brown (60 tournaments‚ 297 matches‚ 400 points‚ 80 tries)
7. Stedman Gans (4 tournaments‚ 11 matches‚ 5 points‚ 1 try)
8. Rosko Specman (23 tournaments‚ 123 matches‚ 288 points‚ 52 tries)
9. Justin Geduld (32 tournaments‚ 164 matches‚ 699 points‚ 77 tries)
10. Cecil Afrika (55 tournaments‚ 285 matches‚ 1335 points‚ 160 tries)
11. Seabelo Senatla (35 tournaments‚ 179 matches‚ 1015 points‚ 203 tries)
12. Ruhan Nel (23 tournaments‚ 115 matches‚ 202 points‚ 40 tries)
13. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (0‚ 0)*