Springbok Women Sevens coach Renfred Dazel on Thursday said the excitement in his squad was building with nine days to go before they depart for Dubai for the opening World Rugby Sevens World Series tournament. The event will be hosted at the Dubai Sevens Fields on December 4 and 5. The squad has been training since mid-October for the seasoning-opening event, which will mark their debut as one of the core teams on the World Series circuit.
They qualified for the tournament in Hong Kong in September. Dazel admitted that with the excitement building the nerves in the camp also grew slightly, especially since this season’s series offers the extra incentive of automatic qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games for the top four teams on the log. But he said the optimism among the players has been particularly pleasing.
“The excitement among the players has been growing steadily, especially in the last week or two. This is one of the biggest challenges we will face since the inception of the Springbok Womens Sevens programme because we will be participating as one of the core teams, rather than being invited to the tournament, and with that comes pressure. But despite this the players have remained positive and their confidence in their own abilities has grown, which is fantastic. This has resulted in a positive energy in the camp, which is what we have been striving for,”said Dazel. Dazel was also pleased with the improvement in the quality of their training sessions and the players’ individual skills since they assembled in October and he hoped this would allow them to test some of the top teams in Dubai, “The tempo of our training sessions and the individuals’ skills levels and strength have improved immensely and this is what I had hoped to see a week before we depart for the tournament. Our focus in the first six weeks was on conditioning in order to ensure that the players reach World Series standards, and this has certainly paid off. Hopefully this combined with the increased confidence levels will pave the way for the team to make their presence felt. That said, we are under no illusions about the challenge we face and we know that it will take a special effort to perform well.”
The team will enjoy a well-deserved break until Tuesday morning following several weeks of physically intense training. They will depart for Dubai on November 29. Dazel will announce his 12-member touring squad next week.