Local junior sevens rugby players on their way to America

Several young rugby players from Pretoria will be part of an international sevens rugby tournament to be played next month in America.

They will be part of no less than 102 young South African sevens rugby players who will participate for various sevens teams in the second Dallas u.19 sevens tournament that will take place on 15 and 16 July in Texas.

South African sport promoter, Willem Strauss, who organises the tournament, confirmed to Rekord that several local players will be part of the seven South African teams in the tournament.

The Cup final winners, the SA All Stars, coached by Ludwiche van Deventer from Pretoria, will defend their title while Oryx, made up by players from Hoërskool Overkruin, who won the plate final last year, will also be in action again.

The SA All Stars team earlier this year also defeated the national u.19 team from Germany in an international sevens tournament in Windhoek to win the plate final. This tournament, which was also organised by Strauss, was won by a brilliant Junior Blitzbok team coached by Marius Schoeman.

The other South African teams is the Western Cape Warriors, coached by Western Province senior sevens coach Bobby Joubert and former Western Province flyhalf Chris Smit; the Zulus from Michaelhouse, coached by former Blue Bull Ryno Combrinck; Pretoria Harlequins and the SA Rhinos u.18 and u.19 teams selected from schools in Mpumalanga and the East Rand.

As many as 20 North American youth teams will participate, including the USA Academy team, Tiger Rugby, who lost in the Cup final against the SA All Stars in a thrilling match last year.

According to Strauss, Olympic status has raised the profile of sevens rugby in the USA. Two boys who participated in last year’s tournament, Richard Papenfus of Glenwood House (Oklahoma University) and PG Espag of Overkruin (Mount Olive University) received scholarships and will further their sporting careers in the USA.

Although the SA boys participating in the tournament, will be focusing on the rugby, they will also have the opportunity to experience Texas by visiting rodeos, theme parks and the world famous Gas Monkey Garage.

According to Strauss, the tournament will in 2018 also include a senior men and ladies sections. The US will also be hosting the Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament next year from 20 to 22 July in San Francisco.


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Koos Venter
sport journalist

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