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At the Copa, Copa Habana... South Africa include record try-scorer among star names for Olympic 7s

The prolific Toulon wing is one of nine players with Test experience in the BlitzBokke training squad.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

SOUTH AFRICA HAVE named three of their Rugby World Cup squad in the training group for the 2015/16 Sevens season.

The addition of Sevens Rugby to the Olympic Games makes the forthcoming year the biggest for the short form of the game’s exposure.

With a gold medal up for grabs in Rio next summer, South Africa have called on their record Test try-scorer Bryan Habana (who scored 64 tries in 117 15-a-side Tests) along with his fellow World Cup bronze medalists Damian de Allende and Lwazi Mvovo.

The trio are part of a group of nine players in the Sevens squad with full Test experience for the Springboks, with Ryan Kankowski, Cornal Hendricks, Juan de Jongh and Francois Hougaard all in double figures for their country.

New Zealand WCUP Rugby World Cup Namibia South Africa De Jongh scoring at the 2011 World Cup. Source: Dita Alangkara

“The signing of players such as Francois Hougaard and Ryan Kankowski is a real coup for us,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.

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“It means they will focus solely on the seven-a-side game in the coming season, bringing with them unique skill sets that our Sevens department has identified as being ideal for the code.”

South Africa are following the lead of New Zealand, who have attempted to maximise their chances of adding an Olympic gold medal to their trophy cabinet by including 15-a-side stars. Sonny Bill Williams will be the main focus of the 16-man Kiwi squad, with Ardie Savea, Liam Messam and Akira Ioane also bound for Brazil.

Here’s the South Africa ‘BliztBoks’ training squad hoping to make it to Brazil.

Cecil Afrika – 38 WSS tournaments
Tim Agaba – Uncapped (EP Kings)
Ryno Benjamin – 29 WSS tournaments (Free State Cheetahs)
Kyle Brown – 48 WSS tournaments
Branco du Preez – 41 WSS tournaments
Carel du Preez – 3 WSS tournaments
Damian de Allende – 0 WSS tournaments, 13 Tests (Western Province)
Stephan Dippenaar – 25 WSS tournaments
Chris Dry – 44 WSS tournaments
Juan de Jongh – 1 WSS tournaments, 14 Tests (Western Province)
Justin Geduld – 18 WSS tournaments
Warrick Gelant – 4 WSS tournaments (Blue Bulls)
Lungelo Gosa – Uncapped, SARU Sevens Academy
Bryan Habana – 2 WSS tournaments, 117 Tests (Toulon, France)
Cornal Hendricks – 17 WSS tournaments, 12 Tests (Free State Cheetahs)
Francois Hougaard – 0 WSS tournaments, 35 Tests (newly contracted to Springbok Sevens)
Frankie Horne – 68 WSS tournaments
Dewald Human – Uncapped, SARU Sevens Academy
Ryan Kankowski – 4 WSS tournaments, 20 Tests (newly contracted to Springbok Sevens from Feb 2016)
Werner Kok – 18 WSS tournaments
Cheslin Kolbe – 8 WSS tournaments (Western Province)
Jaco Kriel – Uncapped (Golden Lions)
Oupa Mohoje – 0 WSS tournaments, 8 Tests (Free State Cheetahs)
Lwazi Mvovo – 0 WSS tournaments, 15 Tests (Sharks)
Sibahle Maxwane – Uncapped, SARU Sevens Academy
Ruhan Nel – 6 HSBC WSS tournaments
Sandile Ngcobo – Uncapped, SARU Sevens Academy
Sphamandla Ngcobo – Uncapped, SARU Sevens Academy
Dylan Sage – Uncapped, SARU Sevens Academy
Seabelo Senatla – 19 WSS tournaments
Philip Snyman – 30 WSS tournaments
Kwagga Smith – 15 WSS tournaments
Rosko Specman – 6 WSS tournaments
Warren Whiteley – 6 WSS tournaments 3 Tests (Golden Lions)

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Sean Farrell

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