Blitzboks to blood rookies on Dubai trip

Coach Sandile Ngcobo has selected an uncapped duo as part of wholesale changes to the Blitzboks squad for the second leg of the 2022-23 World Sevens Series in Dubai, starting on 2 December.

The two newcomers are Masande Mtshali and Ricardo Duarttee, while senior players Zain Davids, Muller du Plessis and James Murphy return from injury.

Dalvon Blood, who made his debut at the France Sevens in Toulouse in May, is also included in what will be his second tournament.

Davids, Du Plessis and Murphy missed the opening leg of the World Series in Hong Kong earlier this month, where Ronald Brown and Selvyn Davids picked up injuries that have ruled them out of the trip to Dubai, while Mfundo Ndhlovu suffered a calf strain in training early in the week and was also ruled out of selection.

The 19-year-old Mtshali represented Western Province in the SA Rugby U20 Cup on the wing earlier this year , while Duarttee (24), a former Western Province U21 and Boland Cavaliers scrumhalf, was drafted from the SA Sevens Academy into the national setup .

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“I was impressed by their potential when I worked with them in our Academy set-up and got them involved when I started with the Blitzboks,” said Ngcobo of Mtshali and Duarttee.

“Both are exciting prospects and I know they will do us proud in Dubai.

“It is great having Zain, James and Muller back from injury as they will be very keen to deliver good performances after missing out on the Hong Kong trip. They are proven World Series winners, so it is great to have them back and heavily involved in how we want to play in Dubai.

“Dalvon did really well in his opening tournament early in the year and was in contention for the Hong Kong trip, but then picked up a niggle and could not be considered. He is fast and elusive and love scoring tries, so we are also looking for some excitement from him coming into the squad.”

Ngcobo was satisfied with the work done in Stellenbosch and was confident that the small glitches that hampered their progress in Hong Kong, where they placed tied seventh, are fixed.

“Look, this side is quite different from that one, but I know we prepared well,” he said.

“Our pool is a tough one. Kenya is always a very physical African derby, Great Britain beat us in Hong Kong and Australia just continued with their great form to win their first title in Hong Kong.

“We are getting back to our feet after being knocked down in Hong Kong, so will have to make sure we trust the system and stick to our processes in order to be successful.”

MORE: Kolbe set for Toulon exit

The full Springbok Sevens squad:
Ryan Oosthuizen – 33 tournaments, 165 points (33 tries)
Impi Visser – 22 tournaments, 125 points (25 tries)
Zain Davids – 33 tournaments, 160 points (32 tries)
James Murphy – 10 tournaments, 45 points (9 tries)
JC Pretorius – 21 tournaments, 225 points (45 tries)
Masande Mtshali – uncapped
Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) – 41 tournaments, 680 points (136 tries)
Branco du Preez – 83 tournaments, 1434 points (100 tries, 464 conversions, 1 penalty goal, 1 drop goal)
Dewald Human – 19 tournaments, 213 points (17 tries, 64 conversions)
Shilton van Wyk – 5 tournaments, 35 points (7 tries)
Dalvon Blood – 1 tournament, 20 points (4 tries)
Muller du Plessis – 20 tournaments, 315 points (63 tries)
Ricardo Duarttee – uncapped

Dubai pool schedule (Friday, 2 December)
9.34am – Great Britain
1.20pm – Kenya
6.33pm – Australia

Photo: @Blitzboks/Twitter

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