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APO International

Fifty up for Oosthuizen as Blitzboks eye Grand Finale

todayMay 24, 2024 3

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Ryan Oosthuizen will represent the Springbok Sevens for the 50th time in the HSBC SVNS in Madrid next weekend, where the final tournament of the 2024 season will be played at the Cívitas Metropolitano Stadium from 31 May to 2 June.

Oosthuizen was named in the Blitzbok squad to play in the Grand Finale, where South Africa will face Ireland, Fiji and New Zealand in pool play, having missed the previous tournament in Singapore.

His return to the squad – in place of Zain Davids – is the only change amongst the forwards, while Springbok Sevens interim head coach Philip Snyman tweaked the backline as well, where Justin Geduld comes in the injured Dewald Human and Shaun Williams for Shilton van Wyk.

Geduld will run out in his 60th tournament for the Blitzboks while Williams, who last played in Hong Kong, will be used on the wing as well as sweeper in a squad that has the versatility and experience to continue a good Spanish streak.

The Blitzboks won both tournaments in 2022, when the world series last stopped in Spain, with consecutive victories in Malaga and Seville.

Snyman said team selection had the Olympic repechage in mind as well, but he also wanted to field a squad capable of winning the Grand Finale.

“Zain and Shilton, who will do some conditioning back home in the next two weeks, are still very important to our final push towards the Olympic qualification,” said Snyman.

“It is great to have Ryan back amongst the pack and Shaun and Justin will bring their own magic to the tournament, so it is an exciting and capable squad.

“Shilton is still suspended after his red card in Singapore and will miss the first two matches, so we thought it would be better for him to stay home and do some conditioning with Zain. The two of them have played in all seven tournaments and most of the minutes as well, so they can do with the rest.”

Snyman said they are also managing the workload of Selvyn Davids: “He is the other player who played in all the tournaments and most of the minutes, so we will manage his workload accordingly.

“We are taking an extra sweeper with us to Madrid and that will give Shaun an opportunity and some valuable game time.”

Each match-up in the pool will have a finals feel about them, but Snyman would not want it any other way.

“Yes, it is the Grand Finale after all,” he said. “Facing Ireland on day one and Fiji and New Zealand on the second day just to get into the semi-finals is a nice challenge, but we have shown in Hong Kong and Singapore that we can get out of pools unbeaten.”

Snyman said their season is far from lost: “I think we have turned the ship. We are in a position to win the Grand Finale and then qualify for the Olympic Games. Those are two pretty big things on our radar, so we still have so much to play for. The season is far from over.”

Pool fixtures:

Friday, 31 May

14h37: Ireland

Saturday 1 June

12h44: New Zealand

15h49: Fiji

Springbok Sevens squad for Madrid:

#1 Christie Grobbelaar – 20 tournaments, 155 points (31 tries)

#2 Ryan Oosthuizen – 49 tournaments, 220 points (44 tries)

#3 Impi Visser – 38 tournaments, 200 points (40 tries)

#6 Tiaan Pretorius – 7 tournaments, 15 points (3 tries)

#8 Selvyn Davids – 36 tournaments, 662 points (85 tries, 117 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

#9 Shaun Williams – 16 tournaments, 157 points (25 tries, 16 conversions)

#11 Siviwe Soyizwapi – 52 tournaments, 755 points (151 tries)

#14 Rosko Specman – 35 tournaments, 466 points (86 tries, 18 conversions)

#23 Justin Geduld – 59 tournaments, 1119 points (118 tries, 264 conversions, 1 penalty goal)

#24 Tristan Leyds – 4 tournaments, 52 points (8 tries, 6 conversions)

#28 Dylan Sage – 27 tournaments, 165 points (33 tries)

#30 Quewin Nortje – 5 tournaments, 70 points (14 tries)

#33 Katlego Letebele – 7 tournaments, 5 points (1 try)

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Rugby.

Note to editors: Audio notes of Philip Snyman can be downloaded here (apo-opa.co/3KfiIjJ).

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