The Springbok Sevens will be hoping to continue with their good performances in Dubai when the HSBC Sevens World Series kick off the new international season on Friday in the glittering desert city.
South Africa won three of its eleven Series titles in Dubai and Paul Treu and his players have established a special relationship with the Arabian Gulf Rugby Union through their numerous visits to the United Arab Emirates.
The last time the Springbok Sevens tasted Cup success in Dubai was in 2008 and they repeated their tournament-winning performance a week later to capture their first home title in George. Those two performances eventually paved the way for the team to capture their only World Series title thus far.
“We saw the value of a good start in 2008 and we will push hard to perform really well in Dubai and then back home in George,” explains Treu.
Treu and his team have been in Dubai since last Saturday and the Springbok Sevens coach believes the extra few days in the city will give his players enough time to adjust to the local conditions.
South Africa has six players who will be playing in their first World Series event, but mixed amongst them are stalwarts such as Frankie Horne, captain Kyle Brown and Renfred Dazel. They are fit again after suffering long-term injuries last season.
“In South Africa it’s always going to be a challenge to get players released and we’re taking a very long term approach in terms of our development as a team with the ultimate goal being 2016, but our immediate goal is definitely to start well here in Dubai and then on home soil in George next weekend. “We didn’t do that last year and it’s going to be tough this year playing Scotland and Australia, who we lost to in Delhi at the Commonwealth Games and also in the Plate final in Dubai last year,” said Treu.
The Springbok Sevens had a warm-up match against their B-team outfit on Wednesday, who is also in Dubai to play in one of the pre-tournament events.
South Africa’s games in Pool C are against Russia (09h54, SA time), Scotland (13h30) and Australia (17h36). SuperSport will show all matches live on SS 6, with coverage starting at 07h05 on Friday.The Springbok Sevens squad is:
Lubabalo Mtembu, Boom Prinsloo, Frankie Horne, Pieter Engelbrecht, Sibusiso Sithole, Kyle Brown (captain), Renfred Dazel, Bernado Botha, Mark Richards, Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, MJ Mentz.
Meanwhile, Kenya captain Humphrey Kayange has been unveiled as the new IRB “Keep Rugby Clean” ambassador for the Sevens game. Kayange has led Kenya for three years under coach Benjamin Ayimba, during which time the African nation has placed itself high among the top tier in Sevens Rugby.
He takes over from former Samoan captain and World Series winner Uale Mai to become Sevens Rugby’s second Anti-Doping ambassador.
Issued by SARU CommunicationsTweet