Joining Simmers are Nadine Roos, Zintle Mpupha and Eloise Webb, all of whom will make their second RWC 7s appearance when the action kicks off at Cape Town Stadium next Friday. Simmers and Sizophila Solontsi will co-captain the women’s side.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens team will play France in their tournament opener at 18h35 on Friday, and the Blitzboks will take on the winner of the qualifying match between Germany and Chile at 19h03. All the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Team coaches Neil Powell and Paul Delport both named squads consisting of 14 players each on at the official team announcement in Stellenbosch on Friday, and will confirm their final 12 players next Wednesday, before the 48-hour deadline to the tournament, to be played from 9-11 September.
The Blitzboks have a familiar look to it with 10 players who were in action at the recent Commonwealth Games in England, where they won the gold medal, with only Dewald Human and Zain Davids absent due to injury.
The duo, who also played in the 2018 tournament, picked up injuries at the HSBC LA Sevens last weekend, the last tournament of the 2022 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with the Blitzboks finishing second on the overall log standings.
Afrika – the all-time leading Blitzbok points’ scorer in the World Series with 1462 points – was recalled due to Human’s injury. The experienced flyhalf last featured for South Africa in the World Series in 2020, but he has been playing for Monaco in the professional Extenso Super Sevens league in France in recent months.
Powell was happy to welcome back Afrika, who missed out in 2018 due to injury after making his RWC 7s debut in Moscow in 2013, and said: “We had been in regular contact since Cecil left Springbok Sevens to first play professional rugby in the USA and now France, so I am up to date with his fitness and form.
“The injuries to Justin Geduld earlier this year and now Dewald Human left us short of options at flyhalf and Cecil not only provides massive experience, but big match temperament as well. He will also take some of the work-load away from Selvyn Davids, who is coming back from injury.”
Davids, Ronald Brown, Christie Grobbelaar and Mfundo Ndhlovu all make a timely return to the squad, having missed the tournament in Los Angeles due to injuries sustained at the Commonwealth Games in July.
The Springbok Sevens squad (with RWC & World Series stats):
Cecil Afrika – 2013 RWC; 66 World Series tournaments (1462 points)
Ronald Brown – RWC debut; 8 World Series tournaments (285 points)
Angelo Davids – RWC debut; 9 World Series tournaments (160 points)
Selvyn Davids – 2018 RWC; 27 World Series tournaments (564 points)
Muller du Plessis – RWC debut; 20 World Series tournaments (315 points)
Christie Grobbelaar – RWC debut; 8 World Series tournaments (70 points)
Sako Makata – RWC debut; 16 World Series tournaments (60 points)
James Murphy – RWC debut; 10 World Series tournaments (45 points)
Mfundo Ndhlovu – RWC debut; 10 World Series tournaments (60 points)
Ryan Oosthuizen – 2018 RWC; 32 World Series tournaments (160 points)
JC Pretorius – RWC debut; 20 World Series tournaments (225 points)
Siviwe Soyizwapi (captain) – 2018 RWC; 40 World Series tournaments (670 points)
Impi Visser – RWC debut; 21 World Series tournaments (115 points)
Shaun Williams – RWC debut; 7 World Series tournaments (80 points)
The Springbok Women’s Sevens will open their campaign against France in the second last game on Friday evening, and Delport said they are not looking past that encounter.
“We are focused internally and want to make sure we play that game with clarity amongst the group,” said Delport.
“You only get to play a Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in your own country once and we hope to make the best of it.”
On his decision of naming co-captains, Delport said: “Home tournaments create a lot of extra pressure on our captains and we want to spread the workload in that regard and also wanted to make sure we have a captain on the field all the time.
“Mathrin and Sizo are both experienced campaigners and leaders and will complement each other in that regard.”
Only Simamkele Namba has not played for the team before, with a number of players who made their debuts in this year’s World Series, Commonwealth Games or Challenger Series.
The Springbok Women’s Sevens squad (RWC & World Series stats):
Marlize de Bruin – RWC debut; 1 World Series tournament
Kirsten Eastes – RWC debut; 1 World Series tournament
Nolwazi Hlabangane – RWC debut; 1 World Series tournament
Felicia Jacobs – RWC debut; 1 World Series tournament
Lerato Makua – RWC debut; 1 World Series tournament
Unathi Mali – RWC debut; 2 World Series tournaments
Ayanda Malinga – RWC debut, 1 World Series tournament (10 points)
Zintle Mpupha – 2018 RWC; 6 World Series tournaments (40 points)
Simamkele Namba – RWC debut
Asisipho Plaatjies – RWC debut; 1 World Series tournament
Nadine Roos – 2018 RWC; 5 World Series tournaments (79 points)
Mathrin Simmers – 2013, 2018 RWC; 14 World Series tournaments (35 points)
Sizophila Solontsi – RWC debut; 2 World Series tournaments
Eloise Webb – 2018 RWC; 5 World Series tournaments (7 points)