Blitzbokke hope for Afrika boost in Japan
March 29, 2013
South Africa get their Tokyo Sevens campaign underway with a tough battle against Hong Kong Sevens rugby champions Fiji early on Saturday morning.

The Pool A clash in Tokyo starts at 03h44 and will be shown live on SuperSport 6.

The Springboks Sevens’ remaining pool matches are against European sides Portugal (08h13) and Spain (10h57).

After their Bowl semi-final exit last week in Hong Kong, Frankie Horne and his team mates will be hoping that the recall of fit-again playmaker Cecil Afrika will ignite a much-improved showing in Japan.

The former IRB Sevens Player of the Year limped off with a recurring knee injury at his home tournament in Port Elizabeth last December and has been forced to watch the action from the sidelines for a frustrating three months.

Still without regular captain Kyle Brown (recovering from an ankle injury), the Springbok Sevens will be hoping that the regular, exciting combination of Afrika and Branco du Preez will provide the opposition with a lot of trouble.

Rookie Justin Geduld showed more than glimpses of his attacking talent in Hong Kong and the slender-built speedster would have benefitted much from the experience gained last week.

Fiji delivered a vintage come-from-behind Cup final win in Hong Kong and South Africa will be aim to surprise the Pacific Islanders early on in their opening pool clash.

Spain have been brilliant on occasions this season and possess real game-breakers in the likes of captain Pablo Feijoo, big Javier Canosa and the season's fourth-highest try-scorer, Pedro Martin.

Cornal Hendricks, the SA wing, has scored 28 tries so far this season to lead the try-scoring chart.

The South Africa squad for Tokyo:

1. Chris Dry
2. Philip Snyman
3. Frankie Horne (captain)
4. Jamba Ulengo
5. Cornal Hendricks
6. Tshotsho Mbovane
7. Branco du Preez
8. Stephan Dippenaar
9. Cecil Afrika
10. Justin Geduld
11. Seabelo Senatla
12. Steven Hunt

The SA fixtures and broadcast times are (SA times):

03h44: SA v Fiji
08h13: SA v Portugal
10h57: SA v Spain