- Hawtrey’s passing a big loss for SA cycling
- Nienaber back with a bang, targets another Nomads title
- Seboko best of the bunch in uphill battle in Uganda
- Davids doubles up in Summer Series
- Elkington eclipses opposition at Loch Ness
- Hurdler Steenkamp winding up for a big one
- Olympic champion’s Epic win, big-hearted women’s triumph
- SA runners in search of elusive medals in Kampala
- Davids does the job on day one of Summer Series
- SA’s Strauss and Knox nail down Epic podium places
Blitzboks braced for crucial 2014/15 world series
- Updated: October 9, 2014
The Springbok Sevens rugby squad are all set to start the next step of their road to Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games.
The Blitzboks are now in Gold Coast, Australia, and have been since Sunday as they prepare for the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series campaign which kicks off on Saturday.
This season ranks as a highly important season as the top four teams on the final standings of the World Series will gain automatic entry to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. It’s the first time that sevens rugby has been included on the Olympic schedule.
National coach Neil Powell lead the Springboks Sevens to a very credible second place on the 2013/2014 World Series log and capped a successful first season in charge of the team by steering them to the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland earlier this year.
The Blitzboks, Powell explains, got into their stride straight after their arrival in Australia: ‘We had our last attacking session on Tuesday and today (Wednesday) the players enjoyed a day off because the last week or so was a very busy time.’
He added: “On Thursday we will have a defensive session and then on Friday we finish preparations with the Captain’s Run.
‘Our overall preparations were not as smooth as I had hoped for, but that’s the way it goes sometimes and you just have to adopt and manage things accordingly. Some players had minor niggles while Kwagga Smith only joined us on the day of our departure because of his Absa Currie Cup commitments with the Xerox Golden Lions.’
But according to Powell, the spirit in the squad is very good and the players are really looking forward to play this weekend. ‘Hopefully we will be able to continue where we left off in Glasgow.’
The Springbok Sevens were given the honour of presenting the Springboks with their match jerseys on the eve of their Test match against the All Blacks last Saturday.
‘It was an unbelievable honour for the team to be involved in the Springboks’ jersey handover presentation. We really appreciate the great gesture by Jean (de Villiers, captain) and coach Heyneke (Meyer). All of us had a great time at Ellis Park and their victory made the day extra special, not only for us but for all South Africans,’ said Powell.
On Wednesday, stand-in Springbok Sevens captain and veteran performer Frankie Horne joined the other 15 captains at the official launch function of the World Series at the Gold Coast (see picture above).