The best provincial Sevens players in the country will be in action over two days from tomorrow when East London host the annual SARU Interprovincial Tournament at the Buffalo City Stadium.
Sixteen teams, including Lowveld and Limpopo, will compete in the men’s division while the women’s category comprises of eighteen sides.
The SARU tournament is one of several high-profile local and international Sevens events that involve South African players. Last week, the SA Sevens Women won the CAR South tournament in Botswana, while the SA Sevens Emerging men travel to Kenya today to participate in the prestigious Safaricom International Tournament. Meanwhile, the Springbok Sevens get their international season underway later this month at the inaugural Gold Coast Sevens tournament on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast in Australia.
On 9-10 December Nelson Mandela Bay will host the South African Sevens tournament as part of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Mahlubi Puzi, the SARU Manager for Women’s Rugby, said the two days of action in East London will kick-start two SARU initiatives. “We are getting our structures in place for the 2016 Olympics and this tournament will from now on serve an important role in identifying players who is not in the senior national training squads. Traditionally, the selectors have looked at the talent at display at this platform to earmark players for the Emerging team as well.
“Last year in Cape Town, Regent Boland Cavalier player Cornal Hendricks received the Player of the Tournament award. He caught the eye of the selectors and as a result was first included in the SA Sevens Emerging training squad and on Monday he was announced as part of the Springbok Sevens training squad for the coming season.
“For the women players it is probably more important because they play fewer international matches and so this event provide them with an ideal opportunity to get game time, and obviously for us to have a decent look at the talent available.
“Secondly, the tournament gives SARU an opportunity to raise the level of awareness for the forthcoming Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens, to be staged for the first time at the new stadium in Port Elizabeth. Rugby supporters in the Border and Transkei regions will thus get an early taste of the exciting action that will come to PE next month,” explained Mr Puzi.