CAPE TOWN - According to Blitzbok playmaker Stedman Gans, coach Neil Powell has given them two options as they prepare for the Hamilton leg of the World Sevens Series: complain or embrace the challenge.
On Saturday, the Blitzboks departed from Cape Town to New Zealand, where they were met with an 11-hour time switch upon arrival.
Last week, Powell also spoke about the challenges that come with the New Zealand event, but he made it clear that none of those obstacles would be seen as mitigating factors or reason not to perform.
And Gans - who will play in his 12th tournament on Saturday and Sunday - reiterated Powell’s words.
“We actually decided a year or two ago to name this leg of the World Series the ‘No Excuses Tour’,” said Gans from Waikato.
“Coach Neil Powell said to us we can complain about the time zone disturbance and the long hours on the road, or we can embrace the challenge and get the job done.
“The first time we followed that approach, the team won in Wellington and last year we did very well in Hamilton as well.
“So the same approach applies this time around. Yes, it is the biggest turnaround for us when it comes to time zones during the series but we will not allow that to impact on us.”
Seeing as the Waikato Stadium will offer Gans his first taste of action in the 2018-19 season after he missed out on the Dubai and Cape Town legs due to a hand injury, one would expect the midfielder to be keen to make an impact. And keen he is - but mostly to contribute to the team.
“It is great to be back as it’s always such an honour to play for this team and to represent our country,” said Gans.
“I worked hard to get back to full fitness again, so it is pleasing to be back on the field playing. But this trip is all about contributing to the team.”
Gans’ return is a timely one for the Blitzboks, and his playmaking ability will certainly come in handy following a player like Rosko Specman’s exit from the Springbok Sevens set-up.
“It is not about me at all. As happy as I am to be back and playing, the focus for me will be on doing what the team needs of me. We all have a role and I am very determined to do mine as best I can,” Gans said.@WynonaLouw