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Blitzboks name experienced squad for Dubai SVNS

By Josh Raisey
Selvyn Davids of South Africa scores during a match against Uruguay on day one of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Seven rugby tournament in Hong Kong on November 4, 2022. Final Score: South Africa - Uruguay: 21-0. After the event being cancelled for over two years, the Hong Kong Sevens has returned and become one the city's highest-profile sporting event of the year. (Photo by Miguel Candela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

South Africa Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo has named an experienced squad for the first leg of the new HSBC SVNS Series in Dubai next week, with only two uncapped players making the 13-player squad.

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Katlego Letebele and Quewin Nortje, both 20 years of age, will be making their debuts for the Blitzboks in a squad that is otherwise loaded with years’ worth of experience. Masande Mtshali, also 20, is the only other player in the squad who has played fewer than 10 tournaments.

Dubai will also see the return of 34-year-old Rosko Specman on the SVNS circuit for the first time in three years having spent that time in the 15-player format.

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Evan Roos on the advice he got from Eben Etzebeth

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Evan Roos on the advice he got from Eben Etzebeth

In the absence of Siviwe Soyizwapi for a large portion of the season, Selvyn Davids has been named captain with Zain Davids and Impi Visser deputising. Regarding his captaincy choice, Ngcobo said: “Siviwe will only return to the circuit in the latter part of the series next year.

“We want his focus to be on getting back into his own game and not worry about the captaincy and the pressure that comes with that.

“Selvyn did lead the team in matches last season when Siviwe was not playing, so the coaching staff and management have full trust in his abilities.

“We are lucky to have a strong leadership group around. Justin (Geduld) has over 50 tournaments of experience, Ryan (Oosthuizen) and Zain over 40 and Impi is in the 30s, so we will have a strong core. The experience of Rosko (Specman) in this regard will also be very valuable to us.”

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The Blitzboks have been drawn in a tough pool alongside New Zealand, Samoa and Canada in Dubai, and get their tournament underway against Samoa on December 2.

Blitzboks Squad
Forwards:
Christie Grobbelaar – 17 tournaments, 150 points (30 tries)
Ryan Oosthuizen – 43 tournaments, 200 points (40 tries)
Impi Visser – 32 tournaments, 155 points (31 tries)
Zain Davids – 40 tournaments, 185 points (37 tries)
Katlego Letebele – uncapped
Masande Mtshali – 5 tournaments, 0 points

Backs:
Ronald Brown – 13 tournaments, 338 points (34 tries, 84 conversions)
Selvyn Davids (captain) – 29 tournaments, 586 points (73 tries, 109 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
Dewald Human – 22 tournaments, 245 points (21 tries, 70 conversions)
Justin Geduld – 54 tournaments, 1077 points (116 tries, 247 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
Shilton van Wyk – 13 tournaments, 135 points (27 tries)
Rosko Specman – 30 tournaments, 416 points (76 tries, 18 conversions)
Quewin Nortje – uncapped

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