10 November 2017

Namibia: Safland Sevens Fever Hits Swakop

International Sevens rugby returns to Swakopmund this weekend when the coastal town hosts the Safland Sevens tournament at the Swakopmund Football Club.

South Africa's Blitzboks, who have won the tournament for the past two years will not be in action this year and will be replaced by a South African Select side.

According to tournament promoter Willem Strauss, the Blitzboks have to take compulsory leave as per agreement with the Currie Cup provincial teams, but the SA Select team will still field a strong side.

It is captained by former Blitzbok and Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks and includes some exciting up and coming players like James Murphy, Ruan Mostert, Daniel Roberts and Conroy Eiman.

In the absence of the Blitzboks, last year's runner-ups, Kenya, will be favourites to win the title for the first time.

They have selected a strong side that includes five players from last year, namely William Abaka, Dan Sikuta, Brian Tanga, Nelson Oyoo and Eden Agero, and several exciting newcomers.

Kenya have been hard at work preparing for the International Sevens circuit which kicks off with the Dubai Sevens next month.

They held a national sevens circuit which was concluded last month, while the national squad has been in camp in the central Kenyan town of Nanyuki for the past two weeks.

Some of the newcomers to the national squad include Samuel 'Smurf' Muregi who was one of the stars of the national sevens circuit, Eric Ombasa, Charles Omondi and Jeff Oluoch.

Several of their top players are, however, not in the squad, like the all-time leading try scorer on the International Sevens circuit, Collins Indjera, Billy Odhiambo and Dennis Ombachi.

Other national sides that will be in action are the Czech Republic, Botswana, Lesotho and Zambia. Other teams that will compete in the international section include the Blue Bulls, a Namibia Academy team and a Tisan team.

Namibia will be hoping to make a good impression on their home turf especially after the disappointment of not being able to compete at the African Championships last month due to insufficient funds.

Their squad includes several exciting young players who have excelled on the club scene or for the Welwitschias this year like Wanderers centre Jandre du Toit, Western Suburbs loose forward Tjingairi Katjivi, United winger Nandivatu Karuuombe, the Plato brothers from Walvis Bay, Aurelio and Chad, Unam winger Shareave Titus, United eighthman Naude Neethling and Suburbs winger Russell van Wyk.

The tournament already starts on Friday with the International section kicking off at 12h00, while Namibia's opening match is against the Bulls at 12h40.

Namibia's other matches today are against Kenya at 16h20 and the SA Select team at 19h00.

The group matches continue on Saturday, while the semifinals are scheduled to start at 15h00 and the final at 17h40.


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