Springbok Sevens playmaker Cecil Afrika is on his way to Tokyo for this weekend HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Japan.
The former IRB Sevens Player of the Year will replace Paul Delport, who suffered a knee injury at the recent HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Hong Kong.
Afrika has not been in action since December 2012, when he aggravated a knee injury at the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens in Port Elizabeth. His availability is good news for South Africa, who suffered a disappointing Bowl semi-final exit in Hong Kong.
Paul Treu, the Springbok Sevens coach, said the addition of Afrika is a welcome boost for the team.
“We obviously gutted to lose another player because of injury, but that is part of the game,” said Treu.
“Cecil will bring a lot of confidence with him to the team. He is confident and looking forward to playing again, but we want to phase him with a view to have him fully ready for the Sevens Rugby World.”
Afrika is prolific points scorer and a playmaker, one of the real star figures of the World Series and a player who can change the course of a match in his team’s favour with a flash of individual brilliance.
“Cecil’s alertness and attacking style create a lot of uncertainty for defenders and hopefully that will create some extra opportunities for us,” added Treu.
For Tokyo, South Africa was drawn alongside Hong Kong champions, Fiji, Portugal and fast-improving Spain in Pool A.
After six of the nine rounds in the 2012/13 World Series, defending champions New Zealand lead with 113 points from Fiji in second place (88). Samoa moved up to third (84), South Africa are now fourth (78) while Kenya climbed to fifth (72) in the standings.