Durban — Veteran Springbok Sevens star Justin Geduld has been recalled to the Blitzboks squad for their World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Malaga and Seville in Spain later this month
The 28-year-old’s inclusion after a two-year absence is one of five changes made to the squad for 2022’s first World Series event at Estadio Ciudad de Malaga, where South Africa has been included in the same pool as England, Fiji, and Scotland.
The experienced playmaker will return from injury alongside Sako Makata, Dewald Human, Mfundo Ndhlovu, and Darren Adonis.
Geduld last played in a World Series event in Sydney in 2020, while Makata, Adonis and Human featured in the shortened 2021 series, playing in Vancouver and Edmonton, with Human captaining the Blitzboks in the Vancouver event.
Ndhlovu makes a welcome return to the squad having last played in Vancouver in 2020, after which the remainder of the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The five returning players replace Tiaan Pretorius, Ronald Brown, Shaun Williams, Muller du Plessis and Shilton van Wyk from the squad that won consecutive tournaments in Dubai late last year, with those victories handing the South Africans an early lead on the 2022 standings and the first-seed ranking in Spain.
Blitzbok coach Neil Powell said selecting the team was not an easy task, but he feels that the squad named will live up to their top ranking.
“We are lucky to have most of our squad available again, with only Muller du Plessis not available due to injury,” said Powell.
“We also made a call to give Ronald Brown a rest as he has a slight knee strain and we decided not to risk him, but rather to have him recover as soon as possible.
“The Dubai group did really well, but with Justin, Sako, Dewald, and Mfundo available again, we opted for some experience this time around.
“It is great to have Justin back with his vast experience of over 50 World Series tournaments and he will slot into Ronald’s role, while Sako, Dewald, and Darren really played well in Canada, but sadly picked up injuries after that.
“Mfundo will be a straight swap for Muller and we are delighted to have him back as well. He was injured just before the Olympics last year, and I am pleased that his hard work is paying off. He will surprise many at this tournament.”
Powell said the fact that they will be playing at a new venue will create excitement amongst the players.
“All the participating teams will be experiencing a new venue, which will ensure a level playing field, and the fact that we will not have any time zone issues, will be another plus for us,” he said.
“There will be no jet lag for us like we normally experience when travelling to New Zealand and Australia, so we are looking forward to the trip.”