AUDIO: Massive setback for BlitzBoks
INJURY UPDATE: Springbok Sevens forward Zain Davids will undergo shoulder surgery on Wednesday and has been ruled out of the last three tournaments of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
The 22-year-old Davids injured his shoulder in training in Hong Kong last week and had to return to South Africa before the start of the Cathay Pacific/Hong Kong Sevens, where the Blitzboks finished in seventh position.
The injury comes at a bad time for the Blitzboks as their two worst results of the season – in Las Vegas and Hong Kong – happened in Davids’ absence.
But there was good news on the injury front too, with confirmation that regular captain, Philip Snyman, the experienced Cecil Afrika and young guns JC Pretorius and Mfundo Ndhlovu are all available for selection for the final two tournaments in the series, in London (May 25-26) and Paris (June 1-2). All of them are in the final stages of rehabilitation at the team’s home base in Stellenbosch.
The Blitzboks are in a tight race with England to retain the fourth spot on the World Series log – which will give them automatic entry to the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan – and that challenge will continue in Singapore this weekend.
South Africa are drawn alongside Fiji, who won in Hong Kong, Scotland and Canada in Pool A of the Singapore Sevens, to be played in the National Stadium on April 13 and 14.
The Blitzboks have beaten all three opponents the last time they played them, but they will need a number of improvements if they want to repeat that. They were the most penalized team in Hong Kong, conceding almost five penalties per match, and that will be amongst the issues addressed by management this week.
Another will be the tired bodies after five tournaments in 12 weeks, said Ghafoer Luckan, the Blitzboks’ Strength and Conditioning Coach.
“The guys have been at it from Hamilton at the end of January till now with stops in Sydney, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Hong Kong and shot turn-around times in South Africa,” he explained.
“This week will be more about recovery and getting the players’ bodies ready for the weekend, rather than spending hours on the field. Our sessions will always conclude in the pool and the players are encouraged to stay as hydrated as possible.”
Luckan said “less is more” this week.
“We decided on an indoor session and staying out of the heat, which turned out to be more technical as well. It is all about getting the guys ready for the weekend. The guys will also spend more time with analysing the games from Hong Kong with the coaching staff,” Luckan said.