Boost for Blitzbokke

George Byron

SPRINGBOK sevens rugby coach Paul Treu must be delighted with the red-hot form being shown by Baby Bok flyers Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe and Justin Geduld at the Junior World Cup in France.

All three shone when the Baby Boks chalked up wins over the United States (97-0) and England (31-24) as the South African under-20 side made an impressive start to their world title defence.

The fleet-footed Senatla has wowed fans with his electric pace that has seen him score six tries in two outings.

The form of the Baby Bok trio will have given Treu fresh hope that his team can go all the way in Moscow on June 28 and 29. The Blitzbokke are grouped with Scotland, Russia and Japan in Pool B. If the Baby Boks can successfully defend their title, it will be a good omen for Treu ahead of his sevens assault on world domination.

Senatla, Kolbe and Geduld have all been included in Treu’s training squad and, if they make the cut, they will join the Blitzbokke after the Junior World Cup.

Treu’s squad has been boosted by news that Kyle Brown has recovered from a leg injury suffered early in the season. Playmakers Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez are also back in training.

But stalwarts Frankie Horne (shoulder) and Paul Delport (knee) have both been ruled out of Moscow through injury.

Before they contemplate a trip to Moscow, Senatla, Kolbe and Geduld will be focusing on their key match against France on Thursday.

The unbeaten Baby Boks already have one foot in the semifinals after their first two wins and must subdue the French to clinch a berth in the last four.

What must be of some concern for the South Africans is that they allowed England to force way their back into the game after running up an early 21-0 lead.

“There is still work to be done and we are excited for the next one against France,” SA captain Ruan Steenkamp said.

“The England game was a must-win for us and the boys were up for it, What pleased me was our kicking game. Against USA we were running the ball a lot, but especially in this game we turned them around with our kicks and that was definitely great for us,” Steenkamp said.

While the Baby Boks brought all their old attributes like power and discipline to the game, their pace out wide was impressive. They will be favoured to beat a French team who lost 30-6 to England and beat the US 45-3.

Meanwhile, Brown will lead an interesting mix of players to the Rome Sevens tournament at the URC Stadium this weekend.

Treu is using this tournament as a final trial to settle on his 12-man combination for the Russian showpiece.

The SA sevens training squad is: Shaun Adendorff, Cecil Afrika, Stefan Basson, JW Bell, Ryno Benjamin, Kyle Brown, Stephan Dippenaar, Chris Dry, Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld, Hansie Graaff, Cornal Hendricks, Steven Hunt, Ryan Kankowski, Werner Kok, Cheslin Kolbe, Sampie Mastriet, Mark Richards, Seabelo Senatla, Sibusiso Sithole, Philip Snyman.

The team to travel to the Rome Sevens is: Ruwellyn Isbell, Shaun Adendorff, Ryno Benjamin, Ryan Kankowski, Kyle Brown, Stefan Basson, Sibusiso Sithole, WJ Strydom, Hansie Graaff, Sampie Mastriet, Werner Kok, Mark Richards

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