Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said on Tuesday their focus for the England and Netherlands Women’s Sevens World Series tournaments would be on improving the players’ individual skills as they look to finish the season on a satisfactory note. The tournaments will mark the Springbok Women’s Sevens first back-to-back World Series events and will bring down the curtain on the 2014/2015 World Series. The England leg will be hosted at the Twickenham Stoop on 15 and 16 May, with the final and 3rd/4thplace playoff at Twickenham, while the Netherlands event will be held at the NRCA Stadium in Amsterdam on 22 and 23 May.
The South African team assembled at their training base in Stellenbosch last Friday after a short break following their return from the Canada tournament, and with the structures in place after four events, Dazel opted for a new focus at training this week. Dazel says: ‘We are at a stage now where the structures are in place and the players cannot become fitter, so we have turned our attention to improving their individual skills. It has been encouraging to see the players develop into better athletes in the last few months, and we would like to see them take that a step further by building on their individual strengths in the last two World Series events. We took several positives out of the Canada leg, with the main ones being our improved defence and the fact that we created more attacking opportunities, and we hope to build on that in England and the Netherlands.’ With the team’s hopes of automatic qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games no longer possible Dazel said their goals for the last two tournaments were to see a steady improvement in their performances and for the players to develop more confidence in their abilities: ‘We knew from the outset that our first season on the World Series would be tough, so our objective as a team was to improve as the season progressed. We have two more tournaments to show what we are capable of, so we plan to go out there and do our best, and hopefully we can surprise a few teams. This will not only boost our confidence, but it would also serve as evidence that we are on the right track with an eye on making bigger strides in the next few seasons.’
The only injury concern in the camp was Rachelle Geldenhuys who is nursing a knee injury, but Dazel expected to have clarity on her availability for selection on Wednesday. Marithy Pienaar, meanwhile, has been forced to sit out of training after suffering a blow to the head in Canada, but she will be able to participate in training from Thursday. Dazel will announce an expanded travelling squad of 14 players later in the week, which will depart for England on Sunday.