PORT ELIZABETH — The Blitsbokke may contest this weekend’s sevens tournament in Nelson Mandela Bay with a bit of Puma voema.
Rosco Speckman, the hasty wing who was one of the top players in the victorious Pumas team this year, has joined the Blitsbokke after Stephan Dippenaar damaged a hamstring in Dubai while Jamba Ulengo is struggling with an injured foot, said coach Neil Powell. He is also watching Frankie Horne, who has a bruised leg.
Two other players to join the Blitsbokke are the experienced sevens player Stephen Hunt and Lions loose forward Kwagga Smith.
“We are calling up Hunt, Smith and Speckman, but only two of these three will be in the 12 chosen for Thursday [tomorrow],” Powell said.
All three played in the SA Academy Team in Dubai last weekend.
Powell said people should not underrate the group the Blitsbokke had drawn.
“There is no such thing as an easy game in sevens rugby,” he said. “We will not underestimate any of Canada, Spain or Kenya.
“We want to maintain and roll with the momentum we created in Dubai.”
English sevens captain Tom Powell (no relation to the SA coach) greeted the news of Blitsbokke’s injury woes with a sympathetic shrug.
He said all the players in the South African sevens team were equally dangerous. “If you watching one, another will take the gap,” he said.
“But I can say it will be a big setback for them if Frankie Horne cannot play.”
Horne has played over 50 tournaments and has for the past few years been the Blitsbokke’s cornerstone.
“It is not just what he does on the pitch. It is about his experience and what he means to his team-mates.
“Yes, if he or the captain Kyle Brown is out, the SA team will struggle.”
Powell said the English team would not yet worry about the Blitsbokke against whom they lost last week in the semi-final. First, they have to contend with Samoa, Argentina and Zimbabwe.