Paul Treu has signed MJ Mentz and Cecil Afrika for the 2009/10 season as the Springbok Sevens start their preparations for their title defence.
Former Griquas wing Mentz signed after more than year-long break from the sevens format, as he was playing club rugby in Italy. Griffons’ Afrika was rewarded with a full-time contract after impressing at the recent World Games in Taiwan and at the Namibian Sevens tournament in Windhoek. He is also a product of the Emerging Springbok Sevens and the High Perfromance programme.
Their additions make up a 16-man squad, of which 12 players are contracted on a full-time basis, and True said both players will add strength.
‘MJ brings with him a considerable amount of experience,’ he said. ‘That is something we can surely do with after the loss of so many stalwarts to provincial and Super Rugby. Afrika is an exciting speedster and he will complement our game breaking abilities. I’ve closely followed his development and his inclusion in the squad is a just reward for his progress.’
Treu also expressed the hope of retaining the services of Western Province wing Gio Aplon for at least one more season. Aplon was a key player for Treu last season, but is currently fulfilling his duties for Province in the Currie Cup.
‘Gio would be a fantastic signing again but I realise that he needs to sit down and discuss his immediate future with Western Province,’ Treu said. ‘I am hopeful that we would be able to use him because he could be a key figure again in our plans to launch a credible defence of our titles in Dubai, George and Adelaide and, of course, our World Series championship.’
More good news for Treu is that Marius Schoeman has changed his mind and has decided not to retire. He has been named in the squad for the international season and travelled with the team to the recent tournament in Windhoek.
The Springbok Sevens are currently busy with pre-season training at their base in Stellenbosch. The team’s next match outing is at the Middelburg Sevens at the end of the month.
Springbok Sevens – Cecil Afrika, Rayno Benjamin, Kyle Brown, Rennie Dazel, Paul Delport, Frankie Horne, Mpho Mbiyozo, MJ Mentz, Chase Minnaar, Reg Muller, Neil Powell, Shaun Raubenheimer, Marius Schoeman, Mzwandile Stick and Vuyo Zangqa