Late change for Bok Sevens

Date published: January 28 2016

Dylan Sage has been called up to join the Springbok Sevens Squad in Wellington to provide cover for the injured Ryno Benjamin.

The Cheetahs player injured his calf during a training session on Thursday as the Blitzboks prepare for the New Zealand leg of the sevens circuit.

Cape Town-born Sage joined the shorter version of the game in 2015 after a season with Australian Super Rugby side the Western Force.

Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe and the rest of the Springbok Sevens squad have their attention firmly focussed on Scotland, their first opponents at the Wellington Sevens which kicks off this coming weekend.

Apart from Benjamin, stalwarts Werner Kok and Frankie Horne are long term injury casualties, while regular skipper Kyle Brown and playmaker Cecil Afrika are both nursing some niggles. This has prompted Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, to include Carel du Preez and the uncapped Sandile Ngcobo.

Phillip Snyman will captain the side in the absence of Brown.

Much of the hype in the build-up to this week’s tournament in Wellington has focussed on the blockbuster clash between South Africa and tournament hosts New Zealand, which is the feature match on the opening day of the two-day event.
Scotland and Russia are the two other Pool A-opponents, and the South African camp is determined not to get carried away by their success in Cape Town last December or their mouth-watering clash against the hosts.

The Kiwis have bolstered their squad with the inclusion of two-time Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams as well as several other provincial stars. However, Hougaard said he and his team mates have their full attention tuned to their opening match against the tricky Scots.

“Although the excitement about our pool match against New Zealand is something nice for the fans, we will really take it one game at a time,” said Hougaard.

“That means we will focus on doing our best against Scotland, and then thereafter prepare to take on Russia.

“It was great to win in front of our home fans in Cape Town, but we all realise that you start every tournament from scratch. We don’t focus on individuals, but rather on what we can achieve as a team. Our goals and our team culture are very important to us,” added Hougaard.