Kiwis fly in reinforcements, as BlitzBoks plan a farewell
DESTINATION CAPE TOWN: Two of the main protagonists in Round Two of the Sevens World Series are having contrasting fortunes ahead of this coming weekend’s tournament.
World Series leaders New Zealand have suffered an unprecedented run of injuries – resulting in the call-up of three players.
Trael Joass, Etene Nanai-Seturo and Taylor Haugh will all join the New Zealand team in South Africa this week.
While in Dubai last week Kurt Baker, Jona Nareki and Akuila Rokolisoa all sustained injuries before the tournament began, while Sam Dickson, Scott Curry and Regan Ware picked up injuries over the course of the weekend.
Despite only having nine available players for the Dubai Final, the Kiwis claimed the title with a 21-5 win over the United States.
Baker, Rokolisoa, Dickson, and Curry have all returned to New Zealand, while Nareki and Ware have travelled to South Africa with the possibility of being available to play this weekend.
Trael Joass was the only available contracted player in New Zealand and left for South Africa on Monday.
Etene Nanai-Seturo, who was a part of the Commonwealth Games Gold medal winning team in April, has been released by the Chiefs to join the team. Taylor Haugh was a part of the New Zealand squad at last month’s Oceania Sevens. Both players departed for South Africa on Tuesday.
Tim Mikkelson was unavailable due to the impending arrival of his first child while Joe Webber is continuing his recovery from an arthritic injury and Joe Ravouvou awaits his New Zealand citizenship after changes to the World Series eligibility rules prevents him from competing until such time.
* In contrast the hosts, South Africa, are planning to say farewell to one of their legends – Rosko Specman, who will feature in his final tournament for the BlitzBoks in Cape Town this weekend before he shifts his focus to 15-man code with the Bulls.
The BlitzBok flyer is adamant that South Africa will be coming out with real intent and purpose, not only to prove to themselves that they are still world beaters, but also to the expected sell-out crowd at the Cape Town Stadium this weekend.
“My responsibilities are within the team and I know what my role entails,” said Specman.
“I know what I need to do inside the system and that is where my focus will be – to do my job.”
Another player keen to contribute is speedster Siviwe Soyizwapi.