DURBAN - The BlitzBoks are in a precarious position as the Sevens World Series draws to a close. They lead the way just ahead of Fiji going into this weekend's tournament in Singapore, but internally there are a few things to address.
It is not as ominous as it sounds; in fact, it is one of those headaches coaches love to have. Neil Powell’s experiment to have separate squads for the Commonwealth Games and the Hong Kong Sevens has left him with some selection posers.
The coach has decided to go to Singapore with some experience and some youthful exuberance, rewarding those who performed in Hong Kong, where they won bronze.
The youngsters, the likes of Zain Davids, Muller du Plessis and Selvyn Davids, had it slightly easier in Hong Kong as a number of nations had their stars at the Gold Coast Games.
But this does not concern the coach, who simply says: “Let the team do the work.
“We have one group of guys who are very keen to maintain their form from Hong Kong and show they deserve a permanent spot in the team, and another group itching to redeem themselves after the disappointment of Australia,” Powell said.
The internal competition building within the BlitzBok squad can only bode well, especially looking to the future of the team which includes a number of legends of the game.
But Powell has identified that this could cause problems.
“It is great to have 12 players all wanting to prove a point; the danger will be if they wanted to do so as individuals. So the message is a simple one: Play as a team and we will achieve more.”
The decision to combine two different squads after the Games in Australia was always a plan, says Powell; it just appears that the decision was made much easier with the youngsters showcasing their potential.
“We always knew that three tournaments in four weeks would be really taxing, hence the decision to send different teams to Hong Kong and Gold Coast and then combine them for Singapore. I am happy that we have a lot of energy in the squad for this weekend.”
The BlitzBoks lead Fiji by three points on the overall log and Powell says their focus this weekend will be on the way they play and implement their processes.
“We are not looking at outside factors such as the standings or what other teams are doing. We will try to implement what we want to achieve and the results will look after themselves if we manage that,” Powell said.
They face Samoa, Canada and Argentina in Pool C.