Two uncapped Blitzboks on inaugural trip to Perth

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  • Post published:January 20, 2024

Springbok Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo has made several changes to the Blitzbok squad that will travel to Australia on Saturday for the inaugural HSBC SVNS tournament in Perth, the third of eight in the series, where Selvyn Davids will again lead the team into battle.

Two players, former Toyota Cheetahs midfielder David Brits and DHL Western Province outside back Tristan Leyds are in line to make their Blitzbok debuts in Perth, while there are also recalls for James Murphy (prop) and playmakers Donovan Don and Ricardo Duarttee, none of whom featured in Dubai and Cape Town last month.

Brits and Leyds were new signings for the 2024 season and will be keen to show their move from successful fifteens careers was wise. Brits won the Currie Cup with the Toyota Cheetahs last year, while Leyds – younger brother of Springbok outside back Dillyn – will follow in his sibling’s footsteps in representing his country.

Duarttee, who was named World Rugby’s Sevens Rookie of the Year in 2023, and Murphy played in the final tournament of the 2023 series in London last year. Don made his Blitzbok debut in Hong Kong and also played in Singapore before a shoulder injury ended his season.

Ngcobo said stalwarts such as Impi Visser, Justin Geduld, Dewald Human and Rosko Specman are rested and will be back in contention for next month’s trip to Vancouver and Los Angeles.

“We opted for fresh legs for this trip and picked a very fast team this time around,” said Ngcobo. “The turnaround after Perth will be a short one, hence the decision to leave senior players behind for some conditioning back home.

“David and Tristan are new to sevens, but both played fifteens at a very high level and have massive rugby knowledge, work ethic and proved since joining us, that they have all the attributes needed to be successful on the sevens pitch as well.

“The management are very excited to see them perform, as they have worked hard since joining us and will bring something extra, we believe.”

Ngcobo said he is expecting strong performances from Murphy, Don and Duarttee as well: “They will bring lots of energy. James has lots of experience in the set piece, Donovan is such a versatile player and Ricardo is coming back fresh and eager, having missed out in Dubai and Cape Town to work on his game a bit.”

The Blitzbok coach is expecting another strong performance from his squad.

“We did not perform well in Cape Town, but I am happy with the attitude, amount of work put in and general skill set of this squad,” he said. “It is exciting to play at a new venue and the players will be keen to make the country proud with a solid performance.”

Blitzbok pool fixtures (SA times):

Friday, 26 January:
06h44: Canada
12h22: Spain

Saturday, 27 January:
06h38: Argentina

Blitzbok squad for Perth (with HSBC SVNS stats):

#2 Ryan Oosthuizen – 45 tournaments, 205 points (41 tries)
#4 Zain Davids – 42 tournaments, 190 points (38 tries)
#5 James Murphy – 17 tournaments, 75 points (15 tries)
#18 Masande Mtshali – 7 tournaments, 10 points (2 tries)
#19 David Brits – uncapped
#35 Katlego Letebele – 2 tournaments, 0 points

#7 Ronald Brown – 15 tournaments, 366 points (38 tries, 88 conversions)
#8 Selvyn Davids (captain) – 31 tournaments, 596 points (75 tries, 109 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
#29 Ricardo Duarttee – 10 tournaments, 212 points (15 tries, 67 conversions, 1 penalty goal)
#24 Tristan Leyds – uncapped
#12 Shilton van Wyk – 15 tournaments, 150 points (30 tries)
#30 Quewin Nortje – 2 tournaments, 30 points (6 tries)
#34 Donovan Don – 2 tournaments, 10 points (2 tries)

Issued by SA Rugby Communications