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BlitzBoks squad for Olympic Games named

NEWS: Springbok Sevens interim head coach Philip Snyman stuck to the group that won the Olympic Repechage tournament in Monaco last month when he announced the team to represent South Africa at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

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Six players with previous Olympic Games experience, including 2016 bronze medalist Rosko Specman, have been included in the 14-man Springbok Sevens squad.

Specman, who was capped by the Springboks in 2021, will partake in his second Olympic Games, alongside Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown, and Siviwe Soyizwapi, who were part of the squad that placed fifth in 2021 in Tokyo.

Brown and Katlego Letebele were named as traveling reserves in the Paris squad and will only be called upon in case of injury to one of the 12 players allowed for the squad and residence in the Olympic Village.

The Olympic bronze medallists were on a redemption mission over the 2023/24 season with a glimmer of hope remaining that they could still make it to the quadrennial showpiece in the French capital.

South Africa needed to finish among the top four teams in the World Sevens Series at the end of the 2022/23 season to earn automatic qualification for Paris 2024.

This seemed like a mere formality for the Blitzboks who finished in the top four in all but five of the 23 tournaments since its inception in 1999.

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South Africa managed to make full use of their last opportunity at the World Final Olympic Repechage Tournament and walked away with the last available berth on the 12-team roster for Paris.

“I could not fault the effort from the guys that went to Monaco, and it was only fair that they were rewarded for that,” said Snyman.

“The team missed out on qualifying for the Olympics during the normal series and at the African qualifiers, so the guys who did the job in Monaco deserved the opportunity.

“Also, as a team, we played well and with a good understanding of each other, so it would have been counterproductive to break that by bringing in different players.

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“I opted for the same guys that played in Monaco as well as Ronald, who was due to travel but picked up a late injury, and Katlego, who played in all our tournaments in the regular season apart from Madrid when we rested some key players.”

South Africa will face Ireland, New Zealand, and Japan in Pool A at the Stade de France in Paris.

Argentina, Australia, Samoa, and Kenya will contest Pool B, while in Pool C, hosts France and defending champions Fiji will face the USA and Uruguay.

BlitzBoks’ pool schedule (SA times):

Wednesday, July 24
17.30: Ireland
21.30: New Zealand

Thursday, July 25
16.00: Japan

Blitzbok squad for 2024 Olympic Games:

1 Christie Grobbelaar
2 Ryan Oosthuizen
3 Impi Visser
4 Zain Davids
5 Quewin Nortje
6 Tiaan Pretorius
7 Shaun Williams
8 Selvyn Davids (captain)
9 Tristan Leyds
10 Rosko Specman
11 Siviwe Soyizwapi
12 Shilton van Wyk
13 Ronald Brown (traveling reserve)
14 Katlego Letebele (traveling reserve)

 

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