Blitzboks face depth test in Vegas

The Blitzboks’ goal of retaining the World Rugby Sevens Series crown this season has been made more difficult by Justin Geduld’s withdrawal from the Las Vegas and Vancouver tournaments.

The leading points-scorer at the Sydney Sevens three weeks ago, Geduld suffered a fractured jaw in Hamilton the following week and has been ruled out for approximately six weeks. The Vegas and Vancouver tournaments kick off on March 2 and March 10 respectively.

The playmaker joins a long list of players who are not available for the tournaments including Seabelo Senatla, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Kwagga Smith and Tim Agaba, who have returned to their Super Rugby franchises.

The Blitzboks are at the top of the 2017/18 standings and they’ve emerged as the leading points-scorers with Geduld and Senatla combining for a large chunk of that production

“Justin has been in great form this season, and if you add Chris Dry (knee injury), who we have also lost for the season, the depth of our squad will be tested,” said coach Neil Powell. “We knew that we were losing four players to Super Rugby, so it is not ideal that we are travelling without Justin too.

“Dylan Sage (concussion), Ruhan Nel (knee), Philip Snyman, Rosko Specman and Muller du Plessis (all hamstring injuries) were all injured before or during the Hamilton tournament, but we are hopeful to have some of them back for this trip. Luckily Siviwe Soyizwapi, who was injured in Cape Town, has been cleared to play again.

“We will be testing our depth in the next couple of weeks. We have some exciting players waiting in the wings and we are keen to see some of them perform at this level.”

South Africa will face Wales, Canada and England in Las Vegas, where two matches are played on the first day (March 2), the final pool match and quarter-finals on the second day (March 3), and the semi-finals and finals of the various competitions on day three (March 4).

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

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  • Peter

    Neil Powell’s always optimisic countenance may come under considerable strain in N America.
    Im not convinced the stand-in Academy players will bear scrutiny against the other top teams in vigourous Sevens tournaments; but i hope like all other rugby loving Sevens supporters im proved wrong.

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