The Blitzbokke will look to the experienced Cecil Afrika for hopes of a better campaign at the Commonwealth Games. This is according to coach Neil Powell as he looks to shape up his squad for these Glasgow games. When asked if there has been any set backs in the preparations, Powell responded with a big “NO”. “I think the only challenge will be the fact that a number of players will only be available to us a week or two before the tournament starts. We have named a strong squad and hopefully all will be fit for final selection,” says Powell.
It’s no secret that the South African Sevens are expected to win every tournament they participate in but this will be a new experience seeing that they will be bolstered by fifteen-a-side players in Glasgow. It will be a test run to see how it’s going to work at the Olympic Games. Bryan Habana has already been earmarked as one of these versatile players that will do duty for both teams.
Powell could not help but stress the issue of other players reporting for duty later then others when asked if the mental fitness of all the players will be well dealt with come the time of the event. “I think the challenge will be to have all the players on the same page and having ticked all the boxes before we start that first game. If we manage to do that, the players will be confident and mentally in a good space,” Powell says. The coach described representing South Africa as a ‘huge honour’ and ‘privilege’ and he also mentioned that they will try their best to make the people back home proud, no matter the result.
“We will be part of Team South Africa and will be keen to support all our athletes at the Games,” said Powell as he pointed out the rest of the country’s athletes can rely on support from the Blitzokke. Rugby Sevens was first played at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and has featured ever since. New Zealand have won all four gold medals to date and South Africa have two bronze medals from Manchester (2002) and New Delhi (2010).