All 16 national teams have declared their final squads to compete at the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens, round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series on 9-10 December.
Having missed the action in Dubai last weekend, IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika has recovered from a rib injury to take his place in the team for hosts South Africa.
“Cecil is definitely going to play,” said coach Paul Treu. “He passed his fitness test and we would like to get him on the park as soon as possible. We can’t wait for him to pull that jersey on and he’s also very excited to start here.”
Treu names one debutant in his squad in Cornal Hendricks, while New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens gives a first Sevens cap to Kylem O’Donnell, brother of former Sevens star Declan.
Among the other core teams, Argentina hand a debut to Agustin Vago; Australia name two debutants in Jo Lalagavesi and Bill Meakes and Kenya draft in Phillip Wamae.
Among the regional qualifiers, Zimbabwe name two debutants, Mike Morris and Lloyd Machanjaire, while only two of Morocco’s players have previous experience at this level, in 2003.
Sevens stars on Safari
In the run-up to the third round of the Series at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, four of Sevens’ finest – Frankie Horne (RSA), Miles Craigwell (USA), Manuel Montero (ARG) and Andrew Turnbull (SCO) – visited the Kragga Kamma game park in the third ‘HSBC Sevens: Around the World’ chapter. Watch the video and download rights-free photos on irbsevens.com.
South Africa Sevens stalwart Frankie Horne said: “It was nice to have a day off from training and come out and do something like this. Being from South Africa myself, I have been to a game park before but it’s always so stunning and for these guys as well who are not from here, it is even more impressive for them.”
Manuel Montero, second top try-scorer on the Series this season and known in Argentina as the ‘Panther,’ said: “It was really amazing seeing Giraffes, Rhinos and wilderbeast out in the open and not in cages here like this. Seeing them all so close was an unforgettable moment. Then coming and stroking the two wild cheetahs as well, was scary but such a good experience.”