The Springbok Sevens rugby team will aim to end their busy season on a successful note when they travel to Cali, Colombia, on Thursday to participate in the 2013 World Games.
The Springbok Sevens team will form part of Team SA who overall will do battle in nine different sporting codes.
The Games start on 25 July and ends on 4 August and it is the first time that the World Games will be staged in South America.
Over 4 000 athletes from 120 countries will participate stretching across more than 24 sporting venues in the Colombian city.
The team will be coached by former SA Sevens stalwarts Vuyo Zangqa and Neil Powell.
South Africa claimed a bronze medal at the previous World Games four years ago in Taiwan, and only two survivors remained from the 2009 Games, namely captain Kyle Brown and Philip Snyman. Snyman, however, has failed to recover from an elbow injury picked up at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, and has been replaced by Bernardo Botha.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Hong Kong and Uruguay are the other teams in action, and coach Zangqa is taking none of them lightly.
“There will be no dropping of our standards – there’s a job to be done and we want to bring back gold for South Africa. We all know that this is an important step in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games next year and then the 2016 Olympics.”
According to Zangqa, the team features a mixture of experienced players and exciting youngsters who are eager to make their mark: “Werner Kok is a great talent and it will be interesting to see how he goes. Ruwellyn Isbell started off the season but then got injured, while Mark Richards has also recently returned to full fitness after a lengthy injury layoff. Both will be looking at getting game time and cementing their places,” explains Zangqa.
South Africa’s schedule in Colombia (SA time – 7 hours ahead of Col):
31 Jul – 19:30: Colombia; 22:30 Hong Kong
1 Aug – 00:30: Canada
2 Aug – semifinals, final and medal ceremony
The Springbok Sevens team to participate in the World Games in Cali, Colombia:
Jamba Ulengo, Bernado Botha, Werner Kok, Kyle Brown, Reuben Johannes, Willem Strydom, Stephan Dippenaar, Mark Richards, Seabelo Senatla, Steven Hunt, Ruwellyn Isbell, Cornal Hendricks.
Management: Vuyo Zangqa Head Coach, Neil Powell Assistant-coach, Ashley Evert Team Manager