Blitzbok coach Neil Powell named his squad for the final HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event of the 2022 season without Selvyn Davids, Ronald Brown, Christie Grobbelaar and Mfundo Ndhlovo, all of whom were instrumental in the team’s gold medal-winning performance in England.
The quartet picked up injuries in Birmingham that have ruled them out of the trip to the USA, but as has become habit with the Blitzboks, their replacements were involved during the World Series.
They are replaced by Branco du Preez, Darren Adonis, Ryan Oosthuizen and Shilton van Wyk, all of whom have tasted tournament success with the Blitzboks before.
With a lot of permutations at play in California – the Blitzboks lead Australia by two points and Argentina by six points at the top of the World Series standings – for the team to secure back-to-back World Series titles, but Powell said they are not taking any calculators with them to Los Angeles.
“We are not going to try and work out permutations, we would rather seal the deal by coming out on top in Los Angeles,” said Powell.
“The confidence and mood in the camp is good after the good results in Birmingham, but that is something in the past. We have a very tough pool and as usual, we will be looking to set a strong standard in our first game and work from there.”
The Blitzboks are in Pool B with New Zealand, USA and Canada, and will open the tournament with a match against the hosts. They depart for the USA on Saturday.
The Blitzbok squad is:
- Sako Makata – 15 tournaments, 63 matches, 55 points (11 tries)
- Ryan Oosthuizen – 31 tournaments, 146 matches, 150 points (30 tries)
- James Murphy – 9 tournaments, 35 matches, 30 points (6 tries)
- Zain Davids – 32 tournaments, 162 matches, 160 points (32 tries)
- Angelo Davids – 8 tournaments, 44 matches, 155 points (31 tries)
- JC Pretorius – 19 tournaments, 99 matches, 210 points (42 tries)
- Branco du Preez – 81 tournaments, 411 matches, 1426 points (100 tries, 460 conversions, 1 penalty goal, 1 drop goal)
- Darren Adonis – four tournaments, 22 matches, 42 points (8 tries, 1 conversion)
- Shaun Williams – six tournaments, 25 matches, 68 points (12 tries, 4 conversions)
- Dewald Human – 17 tournaments, 76 matches, 211 points (17 tries, 63 conversions)
- Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) – 39 tournaments, 204 matches, 655 points (131 tries)
- Muller du Plessis – 18 tournaments, 87 matches, 305 points (61 tries)
- Shilton van Wyk – 3 tournaments; 12 matches, 20 points (4 tries)