Home Sport Rugby Afrika and Kok back in the fold to bolster the Blitzboks

Afrika and Kok back in the fold to bolster the Blitzboks

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“He is also playing very well and that helps. We do have some very experienced players in decision-making roles too, and that will help Stedman as well.”

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Cecil Afrika and Werner Kok will bolster the Blitzboks for the upcoming World Sevens Series events in Hamilton and Sydney, while Stedman Gans will captain the team for the first time.

Coach Neil Powell has had to re-jig his group from the one that did duty at the Cape Town Sevens in December due to injuries and several players being unavailable. The likes of Rosko Specman, Dylan Sage (both Bulls), Ruhan Nel and Seabelo Senatla (both Stormers) have returned to Super Rugby, while regular captain Siviwe Soyizwapi (ankle) and youngster Kurt-Lee Arendse (knee) are not ready to play in Hamilton next weekend and Sydney (February 1-2).

Apart from Gans and Afrika, all of Angelo Davids, Branco du Preez, Impi Visser and Muller du Plessis are back in the squad, and with this being an Olympic year, the players will be going all out to catch the eye for the Tokyo Games, especially after losing 7-5 in the Cape Town final.

Bok Sevens coach Neil Powell felt that Gans impressed as a skipper for the SA Sevens Academy. “Stedman is part of the leadership group and did very well when he captained a very senior Academy squad in Dubai last month,” Powell said.

“He is also playing very well and that helps. We do have some very experienced players in decision-making roles too, and that will help Stedman as well.”

The Blitzboks – who are joint series leaders with New Zealand on 41 points – will take on England, Kenya and Japan in Pool B in a new format where only the top sides from the four groups will advance to the Cup semi-finals, as the quarter-finals have been done away with.

Blitzbok Squad

Chris Dry, Angelo Davids, Impi Visser, Zain Davids, Werner Kok, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Muller du Plessis, Stedman Gans (captain), Sako Makata (official reserve). – Ashfak Mohamed