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Dry and Geduld are back in the Blitzboks mix
- Updated: January 27, 2015
Chris Dry and Justin Geduld have returned to the Springbok Sevens squad and will travel with the Blitzboks for the next two HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in New Zealand and the United States.
The Wellington Sevens takes place on 6-7 February in the New Zealand capital of Wellington and this will be followed by the Las Vegas Sevens a week later, from 13-15 February. The squad will depart to New Zealand on Friday.
South Africa will start the Las Vegas tournament as the defending champions, and this followed a successful 2013 season in the USA, meaning they will be hunting their third back-to-back title in four years at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Nevada.
The team head Pool A in Wellington where they will line up against the USA, France and Japan in the group stage.
Dry missed out on selection for the Blitzboks for the Dubai and Port Elizabeth legs but reclaimed his place after a strong performance for the SA Sevens Academy team in Dubai and impressive showings during the series of gruelling training sessions in Stellenbosch in the last few weeks.
He replaces Ruhan Nel, while Geduld steps in for Cheslin Kolbe who has returned to the DHL Stormers.
The rest of the squad remains unchanged following two imposing wins in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, which has placed the Springbok Sevens on top of the World Series standings with 59 points after three rounds – eight points more than the second-placed Fiji.
Commenting on his team selection, Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said it was a tough decision to select only 12 players.
‘We have a really competitive squad of 22 players and it was tough to decide who to leave out because everyone has impressed me with their commitment and hard work. There is a healthy competition for places, which brings the best out of the guys during every team activity,’ explains Powell.
He added: ‘Chris was hurting after missing out on the previous two tournaments and he deserves credit for the way he has bounced back.’
According to Powell the squad is well aware of the tough challenge awaiting them in Wellington. ‘Playing in New Zealand is a great challenge but we will concentrate on improving our game and eliminating the mistakes we have identified. Although we are first on the log we are not getting carried away because there is still a long way to go. The World Series demands consistency, so our aim will be to build on our momentum and achieve the team goals we have set for ourselves.’
The top four teams on the final World Series standings after the London Sevens in May will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The Springbok Sevens squad (WSS caps in brackets, SARU contracted unless indicated):
1. Chris Dry (38)
2. Philip Snyman (27)
3. Frankie Horne (62)
4. Kwagga Smith (9)
5. Werner Kok (12)
6. Kyle Brown (42, captain)
7. Branco du Preez (35)
8. Rayno Benjamin (27, Toyota Cheetahs)
9. Warrick Gelant (2)
10. Cecil Afrika (33)
11. Seabelo Senatla (13)
12. Justin Geduld (14)
Frankie Horne is the only player in the history of the HSBC Sevens World Series to play 62 consecutive tournaments. He will extend that record to 63 in Wellington.
Last December in Port Elizabeth playmaker Cecil Afrika (939) surpassed Fabian Juries (925) as the top points scorer for the Blitzboks in the World Series.
Branco du Preez played in his 35th World Series tournament in PE, placing him on the Springbok Sevens honours board alongside the likes of Juries, Horne, Dry, Marius Schoeman, Mzwandile Stick and Kyle Brown.