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Davids leads Blitzboks in Dubai

NEWS: Experienced playmaker Selvyn Davids will lead the Springbok Sevens team for the 2024 SVNS series, starting in Dubai next weekend, where he will be joined by two uncapped players in the first of the eight tournaments of the revamped season.

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Davids will lead an experienced squad to the Dubai Sevens, while the addition of newcomers Katlego Letebele and Quewin Nortje, alongside fellow Junior Springbok teammate, Masande Mtshali, add some youthful exuberance and energy.

With regular captain Siviwe Soyizwapi, ruled out for the biggest chunk of the season due to a knee injury, Davids – who will be playing in his 30th tournament on the circuit – will provide the necessary leadership and will be backed up by Zain Davids and Impi Visser, who will share the captaincy when Selvyn Davids is not on the field.

Springbok Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo explained the decision to hand Davids the captaincy, while he said the strong leadership group will also be an advantage to the squad.

“Siviwe will only return to the circuit in the latter part of the series next year,” said Ngcobo. “We want his focus to be on getting back into his own game and not worry about the captaincy and the pressure that comes with that.

“Selvyn did lead the team in matches last season when Siviwe was not playing, so the coaching staff and management have full trust in his abilities.

“We are lucky to have a strong leadership group around. Justin (Geduld) has over 50 tournaments of experience, Ryan (Oosthuizen) and Zain over 40 and Impi is in the 30s, so we will have a strong core. The experience of Rosko (Specman) in this regard will also be very valuable to us.”

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Specman returns to SVNS having last played in Cape Town in December 2020 and apart from the two uncapped players, will be the only player not involved in last year’s series.

Ngcobo said the inclusion of Letebele and Nortje, who were part of the Junior Springbok squad that won bronze in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship earlier in the year, was an exciting prospect.

“They have so much potential and showed a massive learning curve since joining us,” he said. “Each brings a good skill set and I firmly believe they will contribute from the start. They also add nice balance to the team with their capabilities.”

He added that there is also a need to introduce talented youngsters into the sevens system: “By selecting these younger players, we are creating a step into building the next generation. The coaches share the view of our High-Performance manager, Marius Schoeman, that this is the best way for the system going forward and it is great to have that open-mindedness for our needs as coaches.”
Ngcobo will miss the opening tournament on medical advice and assistant coach, Philip Snyman will hold the reins in Dubai.

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For Davids, who will become the 22nd captain for the Blitzboks on the SVNS stage, the captaincy comes with great pride and responsibility.

“I was hugely honoured when coach asked me to lead the side,” said Davids.

“The Blitzboks are a big part of my life and with Siviwe out for such a long time, I am more than happy and honoured to lead the side. The leadership group confirmed their backing already, so the next job will be to get ourselves ready to perform against Samoa in that opener in Dubai.”

The Springbok Sevens side will face Samoa, Canada and New Zealand in Pool A on the opening day in Dubai next Saturday.

The Springbok Sevens squad for Dubai:

Forwards:
Christie Grobbelaar – 17 tournaments, 150 points (30 tries)
Ryan Oosthuizen – 43 tournaments, 200 points (40 tries)
Impi Visser – 32 tournaments, 155 points (31 tries)
Zain Davids – 40 tournaments, 185 points (37 tries)
Katlego Letebele – uncapped
Masande Mtshali – 5 tournaments, 0 points

Backs:
Ronald Brown – 13 tournaments, 338 points (34 tries, 84 conversions)
Selvyn Davids (captain) – 29 tournaments, 586 points (73 tries, 109 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
Dewald Human – 22 tournaments, 245 points (21 tries, 70 conversions)
Justin Geduld – 54 tournaments, 1077 points (116 tries, 247 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
Shilton van Wyk – 13 tournaments, 135 points (27 tries)
Rosko Specman – 30 tournaments, 416 points (76 tries, 18 conversions)
Quewin Nortje – uncapped

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