Neil Powell banking on revamped Blitzboks to make an impact in Hong Kong

By Machuki Sundaa

South Africa coach Neil Powell is hoping his revamped squad can carry on the good work from Vancouver when they compete in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens from April 5-7.

Powell has been forced into making a number of changes to the squad who triumphed at the Canada Sevens on March 10 because of injuries, bringing in 20-year-old Angelo Davis, Ryan Oosthuizen and Chris Dry to replace Muller du Plessis, squad captain Philip Snyman and JC Pretorius.

“In the ideal world the same squad would have travelled to Hong Kong, but we had to replace three players due to injury,” said Powell.

“Angelo has been part of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy for the last two years and played very well on their last trip to South America. He is a hard worker and very coachable, so I have a lot of confidence in his ability. He is fast and great on defence and will fit into the team culture with ease.”

Powell has moved Werner Kok to a forward position and switched Kurt-Lee Arendse to the out wide position normally occupied by Kok. According to Powell, the Blitzboks are keen to ride on the momentum created form their win in Vancouver into Hong Kong.

His 13-man squad, for the Hong Kong outing is captained by Siviwe Soyizwapi and also features Sako Makata, Impi Visser and Zain Davids, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld and Stedman Gans.

South Africa are fourth in the series standings after six tournaments on the circuit and, for the Hong Kong tournament, are grouped in Pool A with Samoa, Scotland and Japan.


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