Blitzbokke veteran Frankie Horne said players from the 15-man game will be welcomed to Sevens if they make themselves available for selection ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.
There’s plenty of excitement ahead of Sevens’ debut at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janerio. All Blacks stalwarts Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messan will be available for Sevens selection in New Zealand’s 2015/2016 World Series campaign.
There has been plenty of interest from specialists of the 15-man game who want to play Sevens with the aim of representing their countries at the Olympics. The Blitzbokke hosted the likes of Bryan Habana, Schalk Brits and JJ Engelbrecht at training in Stellenbosch.
Horne said the Blitzbokke hope to build the strongest possible squad for the Olympics and that’s why they are encouraging more 15-man specialists to contribute to the shortened version of the game.
“We will always welcome new players who believe they can add value,” Horne told MyPlayers.co.za.
“It’s an exciting time for sevens rugby, which has grown so much in recent years. This has given rugby players the opportunity to be part of the biggest sports event in the world – the Olympic Games.
“I wasn’t surprised to hear about Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams wanting to play Sevens rugby for New Zealand. The top nations will all ensure the best players are available for selection, including South Africa.
“From a South African perspective, the players will need to make the sacrifice and dedicate time to the code. The requirements state that each player needs to play at least two World Series tournaments to qualify for Olympic selection.
“So, the players who want to be involved will need to make the effort.”
Horne believes those players can excel and add value in both platforms of the game.
“Guys like Warren Whiteley, Kwagga Smith, Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe and Cornal Hendricks have excelled in sevens and 15s rugby, which is not easy,” said Horne.
“They have proven that some players can add value in both codes, and they’ll be exciting talents to watch over the next year heading into the Olympics.
“It must be noted that it’s easier to move from Sevens to 15s, but it’s really difficult to adapt from 15s to sevens, especially without prior experience. So the guys who want to cross codes need to be patient and dedicate time to learning more about sevens rugby.
“We are here to help them too.”