Kings coach eyes sevens players for new squad

CECIL AFRIKA. Picture: Supplied
CECIL AFRIKA. Picture: Supplied

Blitzbok sevens star Cecil Afrika is the type of player Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids is looking for to bolster his Super Rugby squad for next season.

Davids mentioned the name of Missionvale-born Afrika when he looked ahead to how his team could be strengthened after a poor showing this season.

“At this stage there are several players who can add value and I think of the Springbok sevens players going to the Olympics,” Davids said.

“They are supremely fit and will be coming out of a highly competitive environment when they return.

“Players like Rosco Speckman and Cecil Afrika can add value to our team.

“South Western Districts have a few players and so do Griquas and the Pumas.

“They might not be in some teams’ immediate Super Rugby sights, but they are players who can be brought into the right culture and you can spend time with them.”

Whenever Afrika has been asked about the possibility of returning home to play the 15man code for the Kings, he has always said his full focus has been on the shorter format of the game.

However, after reaching the pinnacle of representing South Africa at the Rio Olympics, he might decide that he wants to seek new challenges.

Afrika, 28, would be a big favourite with Port Elizabeth crowds and help boost dwindling attendance at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The inventive Afrika played in the South African Schoolboys team in 2006.

He was part of the South African U20 squad in the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship that reached the third-place playoffs.

Afrika made his debut for the South African sevens team during the Dubai leg of the 2009-10 IRB Sevens World Series.

He was part of the sevens team that took bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.

Afrika was the top try- and point-scorer for the 2010-11 IRB Sevens World Series, scoring 40 tries during the series with a total of 385 points.

In 2011 he was IRB International Sevens player of the year.

Davids has made it clear that he wanted a mix of youth and experience in his team as he looked to the future.

“You want to have a bit of continuity and you want to fill the group with young and experienced players so that you can get the balance right.

“Look at Sintu Manjezi – he was playing Currie Cup and played very well against the top team in the land when he faced the Lions. “He stamped his authority. “They are the positives I have taken from our campaign.”

Davids has warned that SA Rugby must act quickly to ensure that the Kings are able to field a team capable of punching their weight in Super Rugby next year.

“We are still waiting for SA Rugby to confirm with us what the position is,” Davids said. “It is a wait-and-see situation. “I can only start work when I have more detail.

“Our chief operating officer, Charl Crous, reported back that we could get a visit from SA Rugby this week to discuss matters with us. “Every day is crucial. “If we don’t move within the next few days I don’t see how we can put a proper squad together for Super Rugby next season,” Davids said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *