Ngcobo’s position as Academy head coach as not yet been filled, so the new Blitzbok mentor travelled to Middelburg, Mpumalanga for the Kanonkop Sevens, with a range of matches lined up against the Pretoria-based All Stars Sevens Academy.

This will be the first action for the Stellenbosch-based team since Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town two weekends ago.

Impi Visser and Mfundo Ndhlovu both played in RWC Sevens; Ryan Oosthuizen, Branco du Preez, Dewald Human, Shilton van Wyk and Darren Adonis played in the final World Series tournament in Los Angeles last month; Academy product Dalvon Blood made his debut in Toulouse in May.

Of more interest to Ngcobo - as he starts planning for the opening tournament of the 2023 World Series in Hong Kong at the start of November - will be the performances of the new Academy signings, Noegh Hayward and Ricardo Duarttee, while Down Touch Griffons wing Gurshwin Wehr will also be keen to impress the new coach.

Wehr was called into the Academy after excelling for the Welkom side in the Carling Currie Cup First Division, while Hayward was contracted at the Golden Lions and Duarttee at Boland before joining the SAS Sevens Academy. They were then offered SA Rugby Sevens Academy contracts and will now run out for the team for the first time since putting pen to paper.

Divan Enslin and Mervano da Silva have played for the Academy side over the last couple of seasons and will be keen to be upgraded to the Blitzboks squad.

SA Rugby's High Performance Manager for Sevens Marius Schoeman, himself a former Academy coach, will assist Ngcobo with the coaching duties this weekend.

The SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad:
1. Impi Visser
2. Ryan Oosthuizen
3. Noegh Hayward
4. Divan Enslin
5. Mervano da Silva
6. Ricardo Duarttee
7. Dewald Human
8. Gurshwin Wehr
9. Branco du Preez
10. Shilton van Wyk
11. Mfundo Ndhlovu
12. Dalvon Blood
13. Darren Adonis