- It was a season to forget for the Blitzboks as they finished seventh overall in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
- The squad was ravaged by injuries throughout the season which didn’t allow them to build any momentum.
- Sevens high-performance manager Marius Schoeman says that plans are in place to boost the squad for future tournaments.
While it was a season to forget in the World Rugby Sevens Series for the Blitzboks, some hope is on the horizon.
Injuries ravaged Sandile Ngcobo’s charges throughout the season, which didn’t allow South Africa the chance to build any momentum in selection.
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Marius Schoeman, SA Rugby Sevens high-performance manager, said that although it was a tough season, there were highlights, like the rise of Ricardo Duarttee, for example, who scored 212 points and dotted down 15 times after making his debut in December last year.
“I’m really proud of Ricardo and so happy for him, considering the journey he had to take to get that reward,” Schoeman told BokSquad.
“He grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
“However, he still has a lot of sevens development to do and will get even better as he gains experience, which is an exciting prospect.
“He will also benefit from working with a quality player like Selwyn Davids when he returns from injury. In the first couple of tournaments this season, Ricardo had to play with flyhalves who are actually centres, which wasn’t easy.”
While South Africa started the season strongly, injuries to key players Selwyn Davids, Zain Davids and Dalvon Blood wreaked havoc with their campaign.
They weren’t helped by Ronald Brown and Justin Geduld only returning at the end of the season, either.
Schoeman says plans are in place to boost the squad in the near future.
“We have signed Cheetahs centre David Brits, who doesn’t shy away from contact and will give us the physical presence we lost when Ruhan Nel and Dylan Sage left us,” said Schoeman.
We have an agreement with Western Province to make use of utility back Tristan Leyds and have made Rosko Specman, who is currently at Griquas, an offer to return to the Sevens setup. He would bring massive energy to the team.
To qualify for the Olympics, the Blitzboks will have to win the Rugby Africa Sevens Cup campaign in Harare, Zimbabwe, which takes place from 16 to 17 September.