Springbok Sevens head coach Sandile Ngcobo named Tiaan Pretorius as the only new player in his squad for this weekend's HSBC SVNS Cape Town tournament, with the former SA Schools centre replacing the injured Christie Grobbelaar from the squad that won the Dubai tournament last weekend.
Grobbelaar injured his ankle in Dubai and was ruled out, with Pretorius, who has played in five HSBC SVNS tournaments, making a first appearance in Cape Town.
Ngcobo said he has faith in Pretorius, who adds speed and versatility to the Blitzbok pack.
Pretorius, who was schooled at Paul Roos Gymnasium and represented Western Province and SA Schools at centre, made his Blitzbok debut in Dubai in 2022.
“Tiaan has been around for a season or two now and understands what we want to achieve on the field,” said Ngcobo.
“The advantage of having him in the squad, bar his speed, is that he can play either loosehead or hooker, pretty much like Ryan Oosthuizen as well, and that gives us nice options to rotate. He is also very good on the ball and will be a menace at the breakdown when he is on the field.
“Tiaan has been working hard with the rest of the squad in the last couple of months, so will slot in without a problem.”
The Blitzbok coach said the different pool opponents in Cape Town will not change their strategy much.
“We will approach the tournament the same as in Dubai, although there will be different opponents in our pool,” he said.
“We still need to go and stay within the system and execute. We got back to zero for this one, so it’s a fresh start with the knowledge that the things we worked before the season kicked off will bring rewards if we stay disciplined and focused.”
Ngcobo missed the Dubai tournament due to medical reasons and said he is delighted to be back next to the field: “I had full faith in Philip (Snyman) and Marius (Schoeman) to do the job. I missed being next to the field, as you want to have your pulse on the things as they develop.
“The analysis part afterwards stayed the same, but not being there was a bit frustrating, so yes, I’m happy to be next to the field this weekend,” he added.
Springbok Sevens fixtures – Saturday (updated):
10.50am: Great Britain
Springbok Sevens squad for HSBC SVNS Cape Town:
Forwards: Tiaan Pretorius; Ryan Oosthuizen; Impi Visser; Zain Davids; Katlego Letebele; Masande Mtshali
Backs: Ronald Brown; Selvyn Davids (captain); Dewald Human; Justin Geduld; Shilton van Wyk; Rosko Specman; Quewin Nortje