Three members of the Springbok Sevens team that won the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament in December have been included in the SA Sevens Academy team for the George 7sPL tournament this weekend.
The George 7sPL will be played at Outeniqua Park on January 11-12.
Steven Hunt, Werner Kok and Kwagga Smith all formed part of the victorious South African side that overcame defending champions New Zealand in an emotional final played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, only a couple of days after the passing of former president Nelson Mandela.
The victory was a first to new Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and only South Africa’s second home tournament win in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Hunt, Smith and Kok are all SARU contracted players and will be joined in George by a number of team members from their Stellenbosch base. Ruwellyn Isbell, Tshotsho Mbovane, Mark Richards and WJ Strydom are all SARU contracted players, whilst schoolboy star Warwick Gelant holds a dual Vodacom Blue Bulls and SA Sevens Academy contract.
The Academy side, coached and managed by former national player Marius Schoeman, on Monday returned victorious from the Punte del Este Sevens in Uruguay and will be keen to maintain their hot streak in George this weekend.
Schoeman was forced into some changes with injury ruling out Nardus van der Walt and provincial commitments robbing him of the services of Rosco Speckman, who was named Player of the Tournament in Uruguay.
The team will play under the Samurai banner, the same colours in which they won the International Invitational section of the Emirates Dubai Sevens in December and will in fact defend their crown in the Southern Cape this weekend.
The team last year won the inaugural tournament in George by beating Vodacom Super Rugby contenders, the Toyota Cheetahs, in the final.
The team to play in George is:
1. Shaun Adendorff (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
2. Kwagga Smith (SARU)
3. Bernado Botha (Down Touch Griffons)
4. Sandile Ngcobo (Valke)
5. Jacques Erasmus (Wits)
6. Ruwellyn Isbell (SARU)
7. WJ Strydom (SARU)
8. Tshotsho Mbovane (SARU)
9. Mark Richards (SARU)
10. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls/SA Sevens Academy)
11. Werner Kok (SARU)
12. Steven Hunt (SARU)