One change to Dubai Sevens title winning Blitzbok team

CAPE TOWN – Springbok Sevens coach Sandile Ngcobo has included Darren Adonis in the Blitzboks’ playmaking role, the only change to the team, for this weekend’s HSBC Cape Town Sevens at the DHL Stadium.

Adonis replaces Dewald Human, who picked up a groin injury at the Emirates Dubai Sevens, which ruled him out of Cape Town, the third stop on the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The Blitzboks are looking to build on their Dubai Sevens title, after a dismal start to the season – finishing tied for seventh at the opening tournament in Hong Kong.

Adonis was part of that squad and is therefore no stranger to the green and gold; he will be involved in his ninth World Series tournament, but will make his first appearance in the Mother City.

The Southern Cape-raised player has won the Currie Cup with the Toyota Cheetahs before he moved to Sevens rugby and since joining the Blitzboks, Adonis has won gold medals in Vancouver, Edmonton, Malaga and Seville.

Ngcobo said that the inclusion of Adonis would not affect the momentum picked up in Dubai.

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"Darren has trained with us before we left for Dubai and then played there as well as part of the Samurai (SA Sevens ‘A’ team) in the invitational tournament. I managed to watch those games and he did very well, so I am happy to have him," the coach explained.

"He covers flyhalf and centre and he kicks with both feet, so he brings a versatility element to the squad as well. Darren is experienced enough to slot in immediately and has done very well."

Ngcobo said that the focus for the team would remain inward, with a clear understanding of how they want to express themselves at the DHL Stadium.

"We have two identities – one on the field and one off the field," he said. "In the latter, it is about being a brotherhood, caring for each other and driving a shared culture. We are nailing that one, so that drives us forward very well.

"The on-field identity is defence, we do not want people to score tries against us and if they do, they need to work really hard for it. We want to be dominant in defence and that attitude will not change this weekend."

Another player making his return in front of his home crowd, is Zain Davids.

Davids missed the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town back in September due to injury.

"You can’t really explain how excited you are, just once you get onto that field, you run in front of your family, watching you live. Playing at home means everything to me," said Davids after the team announcement.

Davids is one of the seniors in the side, playing in his 35th tournament this weekend, and he will also have the role of guiding the new generation of players coming in like Adonis, Masanda Mtshali, Ricardo Duarrtee and Dalvon Blood who combined have only played in 12 tournaments.

On handling the pressure at home: "We’ll just stick to the processes. Take one game at a time and build an innings, you can’t just go there and think 'OK, we are playing Fiji and then France'. We take Canada first, that’s our first hurdle and then we go to our next hurdle and improve from that."

The Springbok Sevens squad:

Impi Visser – 23 tournaments, 118 matches, 125 points (25 tries)
Zain Davids – 34 tournaments, 170 matches, 160 points (32 tries)
Ryan Oosthuizen – 34 tournaments, 163 matches, 165 points (33 tries)
James Murphy – 10 tournaments, 46 matches, 50 points (10 tries)
JC Pretorius – 22 tournaments, 116 matches, 245 points (49 tries)
Masande Mtshali – 1 tournament, 1 match
Branco du Preez – 84 tournaments, 426 matches, 1442 points (101 tries, 466 conversions, 1 drop goal)
Ricardo Duarrtee – 1 tournament, 6 matches, 30 points (4 tries, 5 conversions)
Darren Adonis – 8 tournaments, 33 matches, 54 points (10 tries, 2 conversions)
Muller Du Plessis – 21 tournaments, 98 matches, 325 points (65 tries)
Shilton van Wyk – 6 tournaments, 34 matches, 50 points (10 tries)
Dalvon Blood – 2 tournaments, 10 matches, 25 points (5 tries)
Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) – 42 tournaments, 221 matches, 690 points (138 tries)

Springbok Sevens pool A fixtures:

Friday 9 December
20h03: Canada

Saturday 10 December
11h19: Fiji
17h00: France

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings:
32: South Africa, Australia
30: France
29: Ireland
27: Fiji, USA
25: New Zealand, Argentina, Samoa

Artmotion S.Africa

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