Sevens Academy adds Varsity stars
SARU Sevens Academy have named a pair of Varsity Cup players in the squad that will travel to invitational Sevens tournaments in Italy and Switzerland in June.
UCT-Ikey Tigers' Dylan Sage and Daniel Maartens of 2015 champions, UFS-Shimlas will join the likes of BlitzBok regulars Ruhan Nel and Carel du Preez in the 12-man squad.
Du Preez and Nel both made their Springbok Sevens debut during the 2014/15 Sevens World Series after being called up for national duty from the Academy ranks, something Sevens Academy Manager Marius Schoeman believes will be part of the focus of the selected touring group as well.
The team was selected after a round of gruelling trials in Stellenbosch and, according to the coach, the trials again showed the high quality of players in the South African structures.
"The trials highlighted the skills and abilities of the next tier of players. These guys are all showing massive potential to graduate into the national team and some of them will even push for places in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
"We have had an eye on certain players for a while now and it is pleasing that they were available for selection. I would like to thank the various Unions who allowed them to train and now play with us. I think the Academy pathway has worked for our National team as well, as guys like Ruhan [Nel] and Carel [du Preez] clearly showed this year, as well as others like Kwagga Smith and Werner Kok before them," Schoeman said.
Schoeman included a number of Academy players based in Stellenbosch, as well as some new faces who excelled at the trials.
The Roma tournament will be played on June 12-13 at the Acqua Acetosa Stadium – a tournament South Africa has won in 2013 and 2014. The team then will travel to Switzerland, where the Geneva Sevens will be contested at the Centre Sportif du Bout du Monde on June 19-20.
SARU Sevens Academy: Carel du Preez, Ruhan Nel, Sandile Ngcobo (captain), Lungelo Gosa, Sibahle Maxwane, Vincent Maruping, Dylan Sage, TJ Goddard, Tyler Fisher, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Riaan Esterhuizen, Daniel Maartens.
Non-travelling reserves: Thabo Mabuza, Joel Booysen.