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BlitzBoks get the veterans back

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Dylan Sage will return to the Springbok Sevens team for the first time in four years and Siviwe Soyizwapi for the first time this season when the BlitzBoks contest next weekend’s HSBC SVNS tournament in Singapore.

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The inclusion of the two stalwarts amongst five changes made to the squad that finished sixth in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Interim head coach Philip Snyman also recalled Tiaan Pretorius, Tristan Leyds and Rosko Specman for the trip to Singapore, where South Africa will face France, Spain and Samoa in Pool B of the tournament.

Pretorius last played in Cape Town and Specman and Leyds in Los Angeles.

The return of Sage – following four years of XVs rugby with the Bulls and Montauban in France – and Soyizwapi, who recovered from a knee injury that ruled him out for the first five months of the series, bring massive experience and big game temperament to the squad, and both are keen to hit the ground running.

Specman, due to play in his 35th tournament, was a late withdrawal from the Hong Kong trip due to a knee strain, while Snyman said Leyds and Pretorius will bring energy and game breaking abilities.

Snyman said: “We selected the squad with several things in mind. We still have to put ourselves in a position to make the top four in every tournament and to do that, we want to top our pool and then win our quarterfinal. That has not changed, but we also are gearing up for the Grand Finale in Madrid and the very important Olympic repechage tournament.”

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The BlitzBok coach said these things influenced the selection of the Singapore squad, as well as a couple of injuries sustained in Hong Kong.

“Ronald Brown is injured, and Ryan Oosthuizen is also given a rest to recover from a knock, but we also used the opportunity to bring in fresh legs,” said Snyman.

“Ideally, we want to be able to have three players in each position available for selection when it comes to the last two big tournaments and that will give Tristan and Tiaan the opportunity to build some momentum.”

Snyman was very pleased about the return of Sage, Soyizwapi and Specman.

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“They are three massively experienced players with very positive personalities and will bring energy and skill to this group,” he said.

“‘Shakes’ worked really hard to get back to fitness and Dylan slotted in as if he never left. Rosko was due to play in Hong Kong, so we are happy to have him fit and ready this time.”

The team will depart for Singapore on Sunday.

The Springbok Sevens squad for Singapore: Christie Grobbelaar, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Tiaan Pretorius, Selvyn Davids (captain), Dewald Human, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Shilton van Wyk, Rosko Specman, Tristan Leyds, Dylan Sage, Quewin Nortje, Katlego Letebele

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