A fit-again Kyle Brown will lead the Springbok Sevens team into battle at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium next weekend when the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament takes place from 28-30 June.
Brown is one of three survivors of the team that reached the quarter-finals of the 2009 tournament that was held in Dubai, UAE. The others are Ryno Benjamin and Philip Snyman.
Springbok Sevens Coach Paul Treu trimmed his 21-man training squad on Thursday to the final 12 and included a majority of players that helped South Africa to a second place finish and three tournament wins in the 2012/1013 HSBC Sevens World Series.
SARU Sevens contracted regulars Cecil Afrika, Branco du Preez, Philip Snyman, Stephan Dippenaar, Chris Dry, Seabelo Senatla, Cornal Hendricks and Brown all played in the recently completed series, although only Snyman and Dry enjoyed an injury-free season.
Treu drafted in Sampie Mastriet (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Ryno Benjamin (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Cheslin Kolbe (DHL Western Province) and Sibusiso Sithole (The Sharks) from the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises. All these players have played for Treu’s squad earlier in their careers.
Senatla and Kolbe will join the squad, who fly out to Russia on Saturday, in Moscow after completion of their Junior Springbok duties at the IRB Junior World Championship in France.
“We had some tough selection issues, but I am confident we have the right balance in the squad to really compete in Moscow,” Treu said afterwards.
Brown recovered from a long-standing injury and came through a warm-up tournament in Rome without any problems last weekend. He is determined for his side to improve on their last two showings, where South Africa only made the quarterfinals of the Cup.
“We have some exceptional talent, but synergy and finding our rhythm will be key to succeed. All of us have tasted success on the circuit, but want to create a new legacy when it comes to the Melrose Cup.”
The Springbok Sevens Rugby World Cup squad is:
1. Cecil Afrika
2. Ryno Benjamin
3. Kyle Brown (captain)
4. Stephan Dippenaar
5. Chris Dry
6. Branco du Preez
7. Cornal Hendricks
8. Cheslin Kolbe
9. Sampie Mastriet
10. Seabelo Senatla
11. Philip Snyman
12. Sibusiso Sithole
•South Africa have competed in six Rugby World Cup Sevens since 1993. They have played in 31 matches, won 24 and lost 7. They have scored 849 points and conceded 283.