Hong Kong Sevens 2022: South Africa name squad, five stars recalled after missing World Cup
- ‘It’s good to be able to travel with a settled squad and have some players back who missed out in Cape Town,’ says head coach Sandile Ngcobo
- The Blitzboks – four-time finalists in Hong Kong but never champions – will face France, Great Britain and Uruguay in Pool B
South Africa have named their 13-man squad for the 2022 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, as the tournament gets set to return from a three-and-a-half year hiatus.
Five players who missed out the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in September have been included for the opening tournament on the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series.
Ryan Oosthuizen, Branco du Preez, Dewald Human, Darren Adonis and Shilton van Wyk have all been recalled to the squad, with Cecil Afrika, Angelo Davids, Muller du Plessis and Shaun Williams making way.
The Blitzboks had to settle for seventh place on home soil, after a shock semi-final loss to Ireland, with new head coach Sandile Ngcobo and assistant Philip Snyman taking the reigns for the first time at Hong Kong Stadium next weekend.
“It’s good to be able to travel to Hong Kong with a settled squad and to have some players back who missed out in Cape Town, but what we are looking forward to the most, is playing again at the highest level, and to go out and compete to our full potential,” Ngcobo told Independent Online.
“It doesn’t matter where we go, we just want to go out and play to the best of our ability, especially as the last few years have been difficult with all the interruptions.
“However, once we returned to some form of normality earlier this year, it was great to see the spirit of sevens rugby rise again, and as a group we can’t wait to get the ball rolling for the new season.
“A new season brings with it new possibilities and new challenges, and the players in our training squad are raring to go.”
Du Preez, the most-capped Blitzbok history, and Van Wyk are back in the mix after last appearing on the circuit in Los Angeles in August, while Human returns from injury.
Sako Makata, Impi Visser, JC Pretorius, Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown, Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain), Mfundo Ndhlovu, and Christie Grobbelaar round out the squad.
After coming out of retirement for the World Cup, Afrika has hung up his boots again, with Du Plessis and Williams injured.
The Blitzboks – four-time finalists in Hong Kong but never champions – will face France, the newly assembled Great Britain and debutants Uruguay in Pool B.
“The French can beat anyone on any day, and the Great Britain team will be a bit of an unknown factor, while we know that the South American sides are never easy to play against,” Ngcobo said.