x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Dazel ruled out as Afrika and Jonker join squad

The chasing pack is aided in their bid to win the Sevens after the playmaker of champions South Africa has been deemed unfit for the first leg.

DUBAI // The chasing pack have been aided in their bid to rein in the defending Dubai Sevens champions South Africa after the Springboks playmaker Renfred Dazel missed out on selection for the tournament. The sweeper was one of the leading players during their maiden IRB Series-winning campaign last term. He has missed the past three months through injury and was deemed unfit for the first leg of their series defence.

He will travel to The Sevens as part of the Boks' back-up squad, but has been replaced in the senior side by the highly rated newcomer Cecil Afrika. Free State centre JW Jonker is the other new cap in Paul Treu's squad, who won the International Trophy 12 months ago by beating England in the final. The Fiji coach Iliesa Tanivula has bolstered the side, who finished second in last year's IRB World Series behind South Africa, with a recall for the speedy winger William Ryder.

"We've selected a strong team that we're hopeful can deliver in Dubai," he said. "I think you've always got to be confident going into these tournaments but of course there are so many good teams these days that any one of a whole host of teams could win." Kenya, who knocked Fiji out of the Sevens World Cup here in March, will travel to Dubai with the majority of the squad who impressed last season.

Humphrey Kayange will remain as captain, while his brother, Collins Injera, who was the top try-scorer in the series last season, also returns. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae