The Springbok Women’s Sevens have turned their attention to the Women’s World Series and Olympic Games qualifiers after returning to camp following the completion of the 2014/2015 World Series. The team assembled at their training base in Stellenbosch on Monday after a two-week break following the England and Netherlands World Series tournaments and immediately got back to business on the training field. The 2015/2016 Women’s World Series qualifier will be held August at a venue yet to be determined, while the Africa Women’s Qualifier for the Rio Olympic Games will be hosted in Johannesburg on 26 and 27 September.
Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel said the focus this week (and next week) was on conditioning, after which they will work on their structures and patterns: ‘We had a good break and it allowed the players to rest and recover mentally and physically after the World Series, but it is now back to business. We have two massive tasks ahead, trying to retain our place as a core team on the Women’s World Series and then trying to qualify for the Olympic Games, so it is important that our attitude and work ethic is correct from the outset. The players have been working hard at training this week to improve their fitness and conditioning as we tapered down the number of and tempo of our field training sessions toward the end of the World Series. But with several weeks to go before the qualifiers, we will be able to work on those important aspects again, and this will certainly be beneficial for the team.’
Given the encouraging strides made by the team on attack and defence in the last three World Series tournaments in April and May respectively, Dazel was optimistic about the team’s chances of qualifying for both tournaments. He says: ‘I am pleased with the improvement the team made in Canada, England and Amsterdam, and the goal now is to build on that. After a challenging opening season as a core team on the World Series circuit the players know what is required to compete with the best teams in the world, and it is up to them to put in the hard yards at training to achieve that. These are two vital tournaments which each take place over two days, and there are no second chances. Either we qualify or we don’t.’