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Skinstad has much to prove in sevens

The general demeanour of the International Rugby Board suggests it is not overstaffed with young people who jol.

But if that is the case, then something slipped through the net to allow this weekend’s Sevens World Cup to be played at Mar del Plata in Argentina. It is a truism in teaching that pupils learn more readily when they are amused and if the sevens code has a moral it must be that it works best when the players are having the most fun, hence the annual 48-hour party that is the Hong Kong Sevens.

Out of that one marvellous tournament have come such ornaments to the 15-a-side game as Christian Cullen, David Campese, Jonah Lomu and Joost van der Westhuizen. Mention of the former Springbok captain may raise a few eyebrows, but it should be remembered that when Van der Westhuizen represented South Africa at the 1993 Hong Kong Sevens he was still six months away from winning his first Test cap.

South Africa’s team this year is minus Van der Westhuizen and Andre Venter, and in their absence the defence upon which good sevens is based will be a deal more porous. But Bobby Skinstad is back on the comeback trail. If he were to emerge as a true star complete with twink-ling sidestep, searing paceand an absence of marketing hype, the game would take a step forward.

If, however, Skinstad is still injured and should never have been selected, someone should be for the high jump. Expect a solid, but colourless display from South Africa and a New Zealand win in the final.


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