The South African Sevens team should concentrate on preparing for Tokyo 2020. Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / www.Photosport.nz

CAPE TOWN – The Blitzboks’ chances of making it three consecutive World Sevens Series titles are just about zero.

The South Africans are fourth on the standings with 99 points, with the USA (130), Fiji (123) and New Zealand (118) ahead of them.

The defending champions have played in - and won - only one final in the 2018/19 season.

After a struggling first half of the series, their Vancouver victory was much-needed, not just to give their fans a taste of what this team - disrupted by the departure of a large number of their seniors and injury - can do, but maybe for the team itself to get a glimpse of that. 

With quite a few youngsters in the group, it’s not hard to imagine how a run of disappointing results can dent a young player’s confidence.

A big talking point this season has been the importance of securing a top-four spot with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo looming, which is exactly what the Blitzboks need to focus on.

With only three tournaments left this season, there’s not enough time for the Springbok Sevens side to play catch-up. Besides, that would also require a drastic dip from the leading trio.

What they need to focus on is the Olympics and becoming a better unit for next season in general.

It was always going to be tough given the transition phase they’re in, and while we're not saying the Blitzboks should just chuck the next three tournaments in the bin, the focus now should be on that growth and improvement coach Neil Powell has mentioned so often in 2019.

The Singapore, London and Paris – in that order - tournaments should serve as an opportunity for the guys to better understand their roles and for the team as a collective to gel better. If the first box is ticked, the next one will follow.

Sure, it would have been great to go into the Olympics with the confidence that would have come with yet another series title, but sometimes you need to make do with what you have - and this is one of those times.

This youthful Blitzbok side have shown how they can click when they get it right; they’ve shown it in patches throughout this season and they certainly showed it in Canada.

Now they should just focus on working towards doing that consistently, and it’s only growth that will make that a reality - growth that they can continue to nurture in the remaining tournaments.

So yes, there’s still a lot to play for... and that doesn’t have to involve another series title.

@WynonaLouw


Cape Argus

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