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Injury blows for SA Sevens ahead of Hamilton

World Rugby

    30 Jan 2018     World Rugby

South Africa lead the overall series by four points from New Zealand.

Captain Philip Snyman and the experienced Ruhan Nel have suffered injuries and returned to South Africa. Snyman, who completed his 50th tournament in Sydney where South Africa were beaten by Australia in the final, has injured a hamstring while Nel has a knee injury.

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They have been replaced by South Africa Rugby Sevens Academy players Zain Davids and Muller du Plessis.

Davids played six tournaments for the Blitzboks last season while du Plessis will be the reserve player at Hamilton.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe was the reserve player in Sydney and replaced Nel on the final day. Kyle Brown will take over as captain.

Coach Neil Powell said the loss of the pair was a setback but they couldn't dwell on negatives.

"Zain will slot in at tighthead in a straight swap with Philip," he said.
"He played in those two SA Rugby Sevens Academy tournament victories in South America at the beginning of the month and did really well. He will also be very keen to become a permanent fixture in the team, so we are looking for some positive performances from him.

"Muller can learn and even play when called upon. He only finished school last year and is highly rated having played SA Schools and for the Academy recently. He is very talented and has a bright future and I think he will become a very good addition to our squad. The sooner we expose him to this level of play, the better," he said.

South Africa in a pool with Papua New Guinea, Russia and England in Hamilton.

New Zealand have been drawn with Argentina, France and Scotland.

Australia top their pool which includes Fiji, Wales and Spain while the last pool includes the United States, Samoa, Kenya and Canada.