Afrika blow for Blitzboks

Springbok Sevens flyer Cecil Afrika will miss the Dubai Sevens this weekend after picking up a rib injury in Australia.

The IRB Sevens Player of the Year suffered the injury in the second Pool B game against Japan on day one of the Gold Coast Sevens. It was his third serious injury in a space of a year after breaking his cheekbone twice before.

This sees head coach Paul Treu make two changes to his squad for the trip to Dubai. Afrika and Steven Hunt have been left out as Branco du Preez and William Small-Smith are promoted.

Du Preez has been suffering from a serious ankle injury which he picked up in Scotland last season, but is now fit to make his comeback. Small-Smith, a former SA Schools captain, made his debut during the last campaign in his first year out of school and is given a chance to gain more experience.

‘Cecil is still suffering from some discomfort after he received a blow to the ribs on day one in Australia, so we will not risk him unnecessarily because the season has only started and we have a long way to go. Branco now has a bit more training time behind him and so he will start in place of Cecil,’ said Treu.

‘William gets his chance in place of Steven Hunt because we want to arrive in Port Elizabeth next week with the knowledge that we’ve given every squad member a chance to play. Three tournaments in a row poses a tough challenge in terms of managing the players, so we will have to be sensible in our approach.’

Blitzboks squad for Dubai – Chris Dry, Chase Minnaar, Frankie Horne, Boom Prinsloo, Robert Ebersohn, Kyle Brown (c), Renfred Dazel, Bernado Botha, Paul Delport, Branco du Preez, Mark Richards, William Small-Smith.