Blitzboks prep for World Series defence
SEVENS SPOTLIGHT: The International Sevens tournament held at the Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch will be ideal preparation for the World Rugby Sevens series says coach Neil Powell.
Apart from the World Rugby Sevens Series champions the Blitzboks, Paris Sevens tournament winners Scotland along with World Series regulars Kenya - and other African teams like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Mauritius, as well as the England Academy side and an All Stars team will compete in the action-packed event on October 28 and 29.
The International Sevens tournament will also include Western Province Rugby Union clubs, as well as an international Under-17 Schools section, where teams from Argentina and Namibia will battle it out against WP, Boland and SWD selections as well as two SA Select teams, coached by SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach, Marius Schoeman.
SA Sevens won the inaugural tournament in 2016 and even used the tournament as part of their preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio - where they won bronze. This year, especially with Scotland's presence the side will again use this tournament as part of their build-up to defend their World Series crown.
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, welcomed the opportunity to play in Stellenbosch.
"There is no travel involved for us, which is a massive bonus, while the timing the tournament suits us as well, with the World Rugby Sevens Series fast approaching.
"It will be an important tournament for the squad to again play together after our long lay-off and with the quality of opponents assembled, this will be a proper test for us," Powell said.
Tournament promoter, Willem Strauss, was excited about the add-ons the event will deliver.
"The tournament is a great platform for the SA Sevens team and other participating teams to prepare themselves for the upcoming World Rugby Sevens Series as it is played against quality opposition in world class facility," he said.
Strauss believes that this year’s tournament will arguably be one of the biggest sevens tournaments in the world with as many as 80 teams that will participate.
"To have so many teams from Europe, Africa and Argentina participating adds a lot of value to the tournament and will ensure that the International 7’s tournament will become one of the highlights on the international Sevens calendar.
"With the Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup Sevens, the World Series and Youth Olympics all on the calendar, 2018 will be a very special year for Sevens and all of the representative teams playing here, will benefit with that in mind," he added.