South Africa and defending champion Samurai International have named strong sides for Safari Sevens due this weekend at RFUEA grounds.
Experienced playmaker Cecil Afrika will lead Blitzbokke that has seven players with World Rugby Sevens Series experience while it will be the first time in many years that Samurai won’t have Kenyan players.
This is the first time South Africa is sending its top side, having been represented before by Emerging Boks, who lifted the title in 2006 and 2007, and South Africa Elite Programme Development that claimed victory in 2012.
Afrika, has made Blitzbokke core side since making his debut in the World Rugby Series during the 2009/10 season. He is South Africa’s all-time points scorer, having amassed a total of 1,440 points, a statistic that places him sixth overall on the Sevens World Series all-time list.
Other players with World Series experience in Blitzbokke’s side are Siviwe Soyizwapi, Stedman Gans, Selvyn Davids, Angelo David, James Murphy and Impi Visser.
Samurai squad is laden with several players who have World Sevens Series or academy experience with their countries.
Samurai team captain Tom Connor is a regular in Australia Sevens team, his deputy W.J. Strydom has also featured for Blitzbokke in the World Series and Charlie Tupu also of Australia.
Nico Pouplot and Pierre Peres have played for France Students while Dewalde Naude has featured for South Africa Students.
Meanwhile, entry fee to this year’s Safari Sevens scheduled has been slashed by almost half price to lure more fans to the event.
Regular advance tickets will go for Sh600 down from Sh1,200 but tickets purchased at the gate will cost Sh1,000 daily.
Advance VIP tickets will go at Sh1,200 down from Sh2,000 but those buying at the gate will part with Sh1,500 down from Sh2,500 last year.
Entry on Friday that mainly features Schools and women’s competitions will be free. Advance tickets can be bought at mtickets.com.
Cecil Afrika, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Stedman Gans, Selvyn Davids, Angelo Davids, Darren Adonis, Qamani Kota, Shilton Van Wyk, James Murphy, Christoffel Grobbelaar, Impi Visser, Divan Enslin
Management: Renfred Dazel (Coach), Ashley Evert (Manager), Hugh Everson (Physio)
Jamie Anderson( England), Josh Bassingthwaite (South Africa), Tom Connor ( Australia), Ronnie du Randt ( England), Richard Mill ( Scotland), Ruan Mostert (South Africa), Dewald Naude (South Africa), Pierre Peres ( France), Dylan Pietsch ( Australia), Nico Pouplot (France), Hayden Sargeant ( Australia), WJ Strydom ( South Africa), Charlie Tupu ( Australia)
Management: Terry Sands (Director of Rugby), Nick Wakely (Head Coach), Ian Campbell-McGeachy (Coach), Chris Roberts (Coach), Fahad Adil (Manager), George Odhiambo ( Physio), Kai Adams (Physio), Stuart Cameron (Media)