Competition for places in the Blitzboks’ squad for Tokyo 2020 is fierce.
And while Shakes Soyizwapi will lead an experienced “A” team in Dubai this coming weekend, the Academy side will also be out to prove their worth.
That side, led by Stedman Gans, includes Blitzbok veterans Branco du Preez, Cecil Afrika and Werner Kok, leaving national coach Neil Powell with a big selection headache ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.
Powell, though, says he will leave no stone unturned.
The coach explains: “Everyone in the squad will get the opportunity in the series. And what they do with that will be crucial for them.”
Gans, meanwhile, says: “We have a lot of very experienced players in the group, so it will be an easy task.
“I think to just play in the same team as Cecil, Branco and Werner is already a huge honour, to captain them even more so.”
Gans is one of nine players who played for the Blitzboks last season, with only Hacjivah Dayimani, Darren Adonis and Malcolm Jaer uncapped in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
It remains a special moment for any #Blitzboks newcomer on the @WorldRugby7s series. Your very first training jersey. @chrisdry7 doing the honours, Christie Grobbelaar receiving. @Dubai7s pic.twitter.com/FgyYcyugpK— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) December 2, 2019
He adds: “Everybody knows the bigger picture and where you fit into the season’s planning, so there are no bad feelings for not making the Blitzboks team for the first tournament.
“The coaching staff explained their plans, and everyone will get a chance with everybody in the end hoping to make the team that will go to the Olympics next year.”