Blitzbok star Senatla is set to thrill at the Cape Town Sevens this weekend, having scored 12 tries at the Dubai Sevens last weekend where the South Africans beat Fiji 26-14 in the final.
While Senatla has made it clear that he wants to wear the 15-man Springbok jersey, he will have to play in a few more sevens tournaments before joining the Stormers to begin his bid of making the national team.
Blitzbok coach Neil Powell confirmed to Independent Media that Senatla and Kwagga Smith, who will play for the Lions, will turn out for his team in the Wellington (January 28-29) and Sydney (February 4-5) events next year, after Senatla was asked in Dubai about playing his last sevens tournament in Cape Town before moving to 15s.
“Yes, they are going to play in Wellington and Sydney. I think they had their information a bit wrong. We have them available for the first four tournaments every year, that is the understanding we have. So they will be available for Wellington and Sydney, and then return to their franchises for the rest of the season,” Powell said about Senatla and Smith.
Senatla said in a TV interview that playing in the 15-man code “is the second phase of my life… my rugby career, not my life! Looking forward to playing a little bit of 15s, and jamming a little bit and see how it goes”.
Before that, though, Powell will hope that Senatla can continue the sensational form he showed in Dubai in Saturday’s Pool A fixtures against Russia (12.49pm), USA (4.10pm) and Australia (7.56pm) at the Cape Town Stadium.
The Blitzboks suffered a 14-12 loss to Kenya in pool play in last year’s Cape Town Sevens, and want to avoid a repeat. “It’s important to have a mental foundation, to see exactly where our confidence comes from, and gain self-confidence from that. The guys turned that defeat to Kenya around and did well to beat England. What we are trying this year is to give the players a bit more responsibility, so Allan (Temple-Jones, team biokineticist) and I are not in their faces as much,” Powell said.
“We will keep the same starting line-up probably for the first game, but it’s not guaranteed that those will be the guys on form. So there might be changes during the first three games, depending on the form of the players and the energy that they bring, but if we feel that the starting line-up gives us the momentum and energy that we are looking for, then it will probably be the same team for the whole tournament.”
Original source: Stormers have to wait longer for Senatla