South Africa names squad to play in Dubai Sevens

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HONG KONG, HONG KONG - APRIL 05: Siviwe Soyizwapi of South Africa receives the ball during the Pool A match between South Africa and Japan on day one of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens at the Hong Kong Stadium on April 05, 2019 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ivan Shum - Clicks Images/Getty Images)
Siviwe Soyizwapi of South Africa receives the ball during the Pool A match between South Africa and Japan on day one of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens at the Hong Kong Stadium on April 05, 2019 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Ivan Shum – Clicks Images/Getty Images)

The South Africa’s rugby sevens team scheduled to travel to Dubai for the opening leg of the 2019/2020 HSBC World Sevens Series was named on Thursday.

Coach Neil Powell named several experienced players, including some who are returning to the national squad.

Siviwe Soyizwapi, who was named captain for the new season by Powell, will lead the Blitzboks in what will be his 29th tournament.

Other notable players named in the squad are former World Player of the Year, Seabelo Senatla, World Player of the Year nominee Rosko Specman and current SA Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, Dylan Sage.

Ruhan Nel will represent the sevens side for the first time in a year after he toured with the men’s 15s team to Europe in November last year.

Powell noted that team selection was particularly difficult given that the squad’s preparations were well on course.

“We had warm-up tournaments in Germany, Kenya and England and everyone had a good run in at least one of those. Selection was tough, as most of the regulars are available for the opening tournament.”

Christie Grobbelaar, a South Africa Rugby Sevens Academy graduate, is in line to make his World Series debut having been named as a 13th player who could be called upon if necessary.

Powell made no promises about expectations for the Blitzboks in this season’s competition but promised that the team will be very competitive.

South Africa finished fourth overall during the 2018/2019 season behind winners Fiji, United States and New Zealand.

Blitzboks team in full: Chris Dry, Ryan Oosthuizen, Dylan Sage, Zain Davids, JC Pretorius, Siviwe Soyizwapi (c), Selvyn Davids, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Christie Grobbelaar.

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