The inaugural Sevens Premier League in George this weekend will end the rugby year in South Africa with an intriguing high stakes party.
With the grand prize of R1-million on offer and every single team a brand new combination, it might seem like more of a lottery than anything else, but the considerable talent on show should guarantee an exhibition of serious skills.
Picking favourites for the tournament is an almost futile task, but the different compositions of the sides should make for some fascinating match-ups.
First of all there are the provincial sides who will hope that their stable of fleet-footed 'Fifteens' stars will be able to adapt to the rigours of the Sevens code.
The Cheetahs are known for their expansive approach, and they appear to have the most dangerous team on paper out of the provincial outfits, and will have plenty of pace to burn in the form of players like Raymond Rhule, Johann Sadie along with former Springbok Sevens stars Ryno Benjamin, Boom Prinsloo and Philip Burger.
The rest of the provincial sides do not have the same amount of Sevens experience, but have picked exciting young squads that have the firepower to cause more than a few headaches for the opposition.
The next group of contenders include some Sevens veterans, who will not have the youthful vigour of their counterparts in the provincial teams, but should make up for that with their invaluable experience at the highest level.
The All Stars have a great of the game in Ben Gollings, and he is surrounded by the likes of MJ Mentz, JW Jonker and Danwell Demas who have all enjoyed successful Sevens careers.
The Vikings will be another team to look out for, with Blitzbokke legends Fabian Juries and Mzwandile Stick leading the charge surrounded by some explosive young talent.
The dark horses of the tournament should be the Mighty Mohicans who boast plenty of Varsity talent, along with Samurai International and the Kaizer Chiefs team which is captained by Breyton Paulse and managed by Gcobani Bobo.
With such a wide variety of players on show the action promises to be of a high standard, and the relaxed atmosphere of Outeniqua Park should provide the perfect setting for a good year-end thrash with a tidy sum on the line as well.
All of the details for this weekend:
Blue Bulls: Shaun Adendorff, Andre Warner, Roelof Smit, Jason Kriel, Jacques Rossouw, Christiaan de Bruin, Cornelius Cooper, Jesse Kriel, Daniel Kriel, Travis Ismaiel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Clayton Blommetjies. Coach: Fielies Coetzee.
Boland: Philip van Zyl, Ben Venter, Ashton Constant, Ntando Kebe, Deston Wellman, Eric Zana, Tythan Adams, Thor Halvorsen, Garth April, Brendon April, Dual Erasmus, Albert Trytsman, Adi Jacobs, Franzel September. Coach: Abie Davids.
Cheetahs: Ryno Benjamin, Robbie van Schalkwyk, Marnus Schoeman, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Leon Karemaker, Boom Prinsloo, Pieter van Zyl, Sarel Pretorius, Willie le Roux, Barry Geel, Raymond Rhule, Philip Burger, Kevin Luiters, Hansie Graaff, Johann Sadie, Tertius Daniller. Coach: Hawies Fourie.
Kaizer Chiefs: Wilhelm Koch, Shuaib Samaai, Breyton Paulse (captain), Wandile Mjekevu, Jongi Nokwe, Gareth Krause, Junior Bester, Elmo Thomas, Cameron Jacobs, Friedrich Lombard, Adrian Jacobs. Coach: Gcobani Bobo.
Lions: Ruan Combrinck, Derick Minnie, Claude Tshibidi, Andries Coetzee, Robin Coetzee, Whestley Moolman, Morné Laubscher, Ruhan Nel, Jacques Nel, Ross Cronje, Senzo Shabalala. Coach: JP Ferreira.
Living Ball: Jonathan Mokuena, Reg Muller, Wendal Wehr, Alshaun Bock, Marius Delport, Dean Heymans, Shaun Davids, Donnovan Marais, Berty Visser, Earl Lewis, Stefan Terblanche, Dirk Dippenaar. Coach: Freddie Grobler.
Mighty Mohicans: Justin Peach, Christopher Juries, Julian Erasmus, Richard Prinsloo, Mark Winter, Josh Basingthwaighte, Tiger Bax, Jeandre Blom, NW Smit, Karlo Aspeling, Juan Smit, Andre Smit, Stefan de Villiers, Chris Cloete, Izak Saaiman. Coach: Dawie Snyman
All Stars: Stefan Basson, Ben Gollings, Zar Lawrence, MJ Mentz, JW Jonker, Juan Swanepoel, Danwell Demas, Rosco Specman, Jaco Bouwer, Deon Helberg, Danie Dames, Bok Barnard. Coach: Jimmy Stonehouse.
Samurai International: Pieter Engelbrecht, Kwagga Smith, Carel du Preez, Jack Wilson, Jack Welsch, Shannon Rick, Justin Geduld, Werner Kok, Seabelo Senatla, Derich Badenhorst, Henk de Ridder, Sergio Torrens. Coach: Marius Schoeman.
Sharks: Terra Mthembu, Brynard Stander, Subura Sithole, Peet Coetzee, Anton Verster, Gouws Prinsloo, Milo Ngoro, Mzo Mbona, Calvin Karnezos, Garath Meikle, Sean Robinson, Jaco van Tonder, Sizo Maseko. Coach: Roelof Kotze.
Vikings: Jonathan Adendorff, Lean Schwartz, Kempie Rautenbach, Fabian Juries, Mzwandile Stick , Anthony Volmink, Jacques Erasmus, Ruan Mostert, Jody Reynecke, Guy Cronje, Enrico Acker, Shane Spring. Coach: Darryl Weir.
Western Province: Ryan Smith, Sibusiso Notshe, Arno Johnson, Craig Pheiffer, Kobus Van Wyk, Clearance Khumalo, Freddie Muller, Tim Swiel, Dean Hammond, Dillyn Leyds, Craig Berry, Chevandre van Schoor. Coach: Jerome Paarwater.
Day One playing schedule (Friday, December 14):
(Kick-off time are local - GMT plus two hours)
1: All Stars v Boland, 11.04
2: Vikings v Mighty Mohicans, 11.26
3: Blue Bulls v Cheetahs, 11.48
4: Samurai v Living Ball, 12.10
5: Kaizer Chiefs v Lions, 12.32
6: Western Province v Sharks, 12.54
7: All Stars v Cheetahs, 14.00
8: Vikings v Boland, 14.22
9: Blue Bulls v Mighty Mohicans, 14.44
10: Samurai v Sharks, 15.06
11: Kaizer Chiefs v Living Ball, 15.28
12: Western Province v Lions, 15.50
13: All Stars v Mighty Mohicans, 17:18
14: Vikings v Cheetahs, 17.40
15: Blue Bulls v Boland, 18.02
16: Samurai v Lions, 18.24
17: Kaizer Chiefs v Sharks, 18.46
18: Western Province v Living Ball, 19:08
By Michael de Vries
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