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Experienced BlitzBok squad named for North American trip

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Springbok Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo made five changes to his travelling squad for the next two HSBC SVNS tournaments, in Vancouver next weekend and Los Angeles a week later.

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Impi Visser, Shaun Williams, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld and Darren Adonis will travel to North America after missing out on the Australian leg in Perth last month, where South Africa finished fifth.

Visser, Specman and Geduld played in the opening two tournaments of the 2024 series in Dubai and Cape Town, but Williams and Adonis will make their first appearances of the season.

Adonis last played in Sydney in 2023 and Williams in London at the end of the previous season.

Ngcobo said injuries forced his hand when selecting the squad but added that hard work at training also brought rewards to some of the players.

“We needed to have a fresh squad for this trip as we play back-to-back tournaments,” Ngcobo said.

“Unfortunately, we lost some guys to injury following the Perth tournament, but it also provided us the opportunity to pick a fit and strong squad for the trip.

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“Rosko and Justin bring vast experience and ability and Impi returns after missing out on Perth due to a neck strain. We are in a very physical pool, so to have Impi back is great, as we will have to fight fire with fire.”

Ngcobo said he was pleased to include Williams and Adonis for the trip to North America: “Shaun just missed out on selection for Perth and that stung. He showed a lot of energy in training and will be a ball of fire on tour. He can play sweeper and wing, which is great for us.

“Darren was injured at the beginning of the season but has recovered well. He is a natural centre but has also trained at hooker in the last couple of months and adapted well in that role.”

The BlitzBok coach said their pool, which includes New Zealand, Ireland and Great Britain will be tough.

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“We have some physical opponents and our response to those challenges will be key in our success,” he said. “The squad that we selected can certainly face adversity and I expect us to be very competitive in Vancouver. All the teams in our pool will be desperate for wins, so there will be no easy game.”

Springbok Sevens squad: Ryan Oosthuizen, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Selvyn Davids (captain), Shaun Williams, Shilton van Wyk, Rosko Specman, David Brits, Darren Adonis, Justin Geduld, Tristan Leyds, Ricardo Duarttee, Katlego Letebele

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