Blitzboks begin preparations for Tokyo Olympics
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CAPE TOWN – The Springbok Sevens team will fine-tune their squad selection for the Tokyo Olympics in the coming weeks, Neil Powell confirmed on Wednesday.
The group returned to full training at their Stellenbosch Academy of Sport base this week.
As they continue to prepare for the global showpiece in July Powell, Blitzboks coach, said that attitude as well as form will influence his decision, while also confirming that a tournament between the Springbok Sevens and SA Rugby Sevens Academy against Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe will be used as Olympic trials on consecutive weekends in May.
"We are extremely grateful for these tournaments, organised by Rugby Africa, to give ourselves and Kenya another opportunity to prep for the games and hand Uganda and Zimbabwe playing time as they prepare for the repechage tournament to the Olympics that will take place in Monaco in June,” said Powell.
“We missed playing in Madrid and Dubai as originally planned due to travel restrictions, but did have matches against the SAS Sevens Academy and the SA All Stars Academy from Pretoria.
“While we appreciated that, we need some international opposition as well, to encounter as many different playing styles from opposing teams, and these three will offer that."
Powell indicated that he would name his final Olympic squad from players that are available to play in the two tournaments.
“Any players who are not involved in the two tournaments, will not be considered for the Olympics,” said Powell.
“We hoped to have some players from outside the current squad available for this training block, but if they are not here to play, they will not be considered for selection.
“We are only a couple of months away from the Games and in order for me to select the best squad, I need to be aware of their effort and commitment in training and match play.
“The next couple of weeks of this training block will be testing and I hope everyone in the squad will show why I have to pick them to go to Tokyo. I have told the players that I will be looking at attitude as well as form and how they train will be as important as how they play when given the opportunity," added Powell.