Kwagga, Notshe a boost for Blitzboks


Kwagga Smith‚ who played a blinder for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Twickenham last Saturday‚ has re-joined the Blitzboks at their Stellenbosch base as they prepare for the defence of their World Series crown.

Western Province and SA ‘A’ flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe has also been drafted into the Blitzboks squad after his union gave their blessing to further bolster the playing stocks.

Notshe‚ 24‚ is a livewire looseforward with huge pace and skill and on the face of it‚ seems a perfect fit for sevens.

The WP loosie is on loan from his union and will return to the Stormers in Super Rugby next February.

He will feature in the first four World Series events in Dubai‚ Cape Town‚ Hamilton and Sydney.

Along with current Springbok Sevens players‚ regulars‚ Ruhan Nel‚ Werner Kok and Seabelo Senatla‚ he was part of the Western Province team that won the Currie Cup final in Durban two weeks ago.

“It is pretty exciting to be able to join the World Series champions‚” said Notshe.

“I am keen to learn from them as they are a pretty experienced group.

“The guys were pretty excited to get back together again and so am I – it is almost like the first day back at school for me. For me it will be all about learning from the old heads here.”

Blue Bulls players Tim Agaba and Stedman Gans have also re-joined the squad after Currie Cup duty.

Agaba was part of the Currie Cup side while Gans played for the Blue Bulls Under-21s and was also in action in Durban‚ where they lost to WP in the SA Rugby Provincial Under-21 final.

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said it was great to have the full squad together again: “The start of the HSBC World Sevens Series is upon us and we need to get all our preparations done to be ready for the opening tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town.

“It is great to have Sikhumbuzo with us. He realises that a place in the squad is not guaranteed‚ but I am pleased to have a player of his abilities added to our squad.

“We are continually looking at extending our depth and player base and he certainly has the athletic abilities to play for the Blitzboks.

“He will need to show that he deserves a spot in the squad‚ but the same applies for all the other guys‚” Powell said.

Powell also confirmed that Dylan Sage will not be available for the tournaments in Dubai or Cape Town because of a back injury: “The injury will keep him out of the first two tournaments for sure. It is a pity‚ but we will have in back in full fitness next year‚ so we wish Dylan a speedy and proper recovery.”

by Craig Ray – TimesLIVE


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