The Springbok Sevens will be without regular squad member Stephan Dippenaar in this weekend’s London Sevens to be played at Twickenham.
The versatile Dippenaar, who has played in 21 tournaments for the team, sustained a knee injury during the past weekend’s Glasgow Sevens and has already returned to South Africa.
Coach Neil Powell has called up WJ Strydom as replacement for Dippenaar.
The twice-capped Strydom made his Springbok Sevens debut in Glasgow last year and also participated in the corresponding London tournament in the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series. It will be his first appearance in the 2013/14 series.
Speaking from London, Powell said his team, already missing the influential figures of regular captain Kyle Brown and playmaker Cecil Afrika, was determined to finish the world series on a high note despite the latest injury setback.
“Overall, we had a very good season, however, we did not play well in Hong Kong or Glasgow. I told the players we need a much improved performance if we want to be successful this coming weekend,” said Powell.
The Blitzboks coach said the team would work hard at training this week to eliminate the mistakes which led to their Plate semi-final exit in Scotland.
“We made basic errors which cost us dearly in the end. We lost the ball in contact, our kick-offs were not good and we have to be more aggressive at the rucks,” he said.
Their Group D opponents for the season-ending London Sevens, to be played on Saturday and Sunday, are Scotland, France and Portugal. – Sapa