Dry on comeback trail in SA Academy side to Dubai
Experienced Blitzbok Chris Dry will make a return to competitive rugby next week after being named in the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side to contest the International Invitational Tournament at the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.
Dry’s last appearance in the green and gold was at the HSBC Cape Town Sevens in December 2018, where he sustained a serious knee injury that ruled him out of the remainder of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2018, as well as the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco, USA in July.
Dry, a veteran of 64 tournaments for the Blitzboks, will also help SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach, Marius Schoeman in a guidance capacity, as he will form a leadership group with Sako Makata and James Murphy.
Schoeman explained that he decided to split the captaincy duties between the three players as part of the overall Academy strategy.
“We are not moulding and delivering the next generations of Blitzboks, we are also trying to develop future leaders for the system,” said Schoeman.
“The likes of Sako and James have the potential to grow into that role and it would be silly to discard the experience Chris will give this team.”
Schoeman called on a mix of old and new player to make the trip to Dubai, where they will face Samurai, Kuban Rugby Club and Germany. Apart from capped Blitzboks in Dry, Murphy and Mfundo Ndhlovu, the coach also recalled WJ Strydom, who last played for the national side in 2014.
The University of Pretoria student is completing his teaching degree and will be joined by two more students in Angus van Niekerk (Maties) and Kurt-Lee Arendse (UWC), while there is also a recall for Donovan du Randt, who returns to the team after a stint in Australia.
Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 flanker, JC Pretorius, and DHL Western Province Under-19 wing, Angelo Davids, are also back on sevens duty, having last played for the Academy side in South America in January.
Schoeman is also keen to evaluate the efforts from the Cell C Sharks duo, Luyanda Mngidi, and Ilunga Mukendi, who will travel with the team for the first time.
“This squad have loads of potential, no doubt,” said Schoeman.
“The younger guys will have some luxury in having old hands around, but this is pretty much a tournament where I hope the players grow and develop in the squad set-up. Everyone is aware that this is a pathway not only to higher honours, but also to grow as a member of the Blitzboks set-up.”
The SA Rugby Sevens Academy team is:
- Chris Dry
- James Murphy
- Sako Makata
- JC Pretorius
- Luyanda Mngidi
- Kurt-Lee Arendse
- Donovan du Randt
- WJ Strydom
- Angus van Niekerk
- Ilunga Mukendi
- Angelo Davids
- Mfundo Ndhlovu