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Blitzboks' Kok in line for 50th tournament as Powell changes 3 for LA

Justin Geduld, Chris Dry and Zain Davids are being rested after featuring in all four tournaments so far with Ryan Oosthuizen, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Mfundo Ndhlovu all returning to action.

Werner Kok in action for the Blitzboks. Picture: @wernerkok1/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Werner Kok is set to play in his 50th World Rugby Sevens Series tournament for the Blitzboks in Los Angeles next weekend.

Blitzbok coach Neil Powell made three changes to the side that lost in the final of the Sydney Sevens early this month. Justin Geduld, Chris Dry and Zain Davids are being rested after featuring in all four tournaments so far, with Ryan Oosthuizen, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Mfundo Ndhlovu all returning to action.

Oosthuizen (in for Dry) and Arendse (in for Geduld) both played in the opening two tournaments of the season, while Ndhlovu last played in Paris last year when the 2018/19 World Series concluded.

Ndhlovu will travel as the official reserve, with Sako Makata promoted into the starting team to take over from Davids.

Stedman Gans will once again wear the captain's armband in the absence of Siviwe Soyizwapi, who just missed the return to play deadline for this trip.

Kok, meanwhile, will follow in the footsteps of Branco du Preez, Chris Dry, Kyle Brown, Frankie Horne, Cecil Afrika, Philip Snyman and Justin Geduld when he takes the field in his 250th match for his country.

Powell said they needed to adjust their plans with the news that the Hong Kong and Singapore legs of the series have been rescheduled.

“Justin, Chris and Zain have played a lot of rugby so far and were always going to get a rest this trip. Ryan is very keen to get back into the action, Kurt-Lee has recovered from the knock that kept him out of the previous trip and Sako deserves his chance after travelling as the extra player to New Zealand and Australia. We want to give all players a fair opportunity to stake a claim for the Olympic Games”, he said.

The Blitzboks, currently second on the overall log, nine points behind leaders New Zealand, have been drawn in the same pool as Kenya, Canada and Ireland and will face Ireland and Canada for the first time in the current series.

Here is the full squad:

  1. Angelo Davids

  2. Ryan Oosthuizen

  3. Impi Visser

  4. Sako Makata

  5. Werner Kok

  6. JC Pretorius

  7. Branco du Preez

  8. Selvyn Davids

  9. Kurt-Lee Arendse

  10. Cecil Afrika

  11. Muller du Plessis

  12. Stedman Gans

  13. Mfundo Ndhlovu

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