Home Sport Restarting training will be a mental boost for Blitzboks

Restarting training will be a mental boost for Blitzboks

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Coach Neil Powell and his squad will return to training at their Stellenbosch headquarters next Tuesday, but only after everyone has been tested for Covid19.

The Blitzbokke’s Neil Powell. Picture: Aubrey Kgakatsi BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Following news of the cancellation of the opening two rounds of the 2020/21 World Rugby Sevens Series, the Springbok Sevens squad received a mental boost this week.

The November 2020 Dubai Sevens as well as the Cape Town Sevens a week later in December were cancelled recently due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach Neil Powell and his squad will return to training at their Stellenbosch headquarters next Tuesday, but only after everyone has been tested for Covid19. This procedure will be conducted on Thursday in order to adhere to the government’s strict Covid-19 safety protocols.

For Powell, this comes at a good time for his squad, who last saw action in early March.

“The players will welcome the return no doubt,” said Powell.

“It has been tough on them mentally to be away from the game for so long and while they managed to train on their own during the lockdown period, it will also be good for them to get back into a training routine, although in smaller groups.”

The Blitzboks finished the 2019/20 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in second place on the log and were awarded the Series silver medal after first-placed New Zealand. This came after the Series was cut short due to the global Covid-19 outbreak, with the last four tournaments cancelled and the Olympic Games in Tokyo postponed until August 2021.

“The guys will be keen to get back into action, but we will manage the start of the new season,” said Powell.

“Not only are there certain protocols in place during our return to train phase of the lockdown, we also have to make sure the players are following those to the letter.”

“The first month will focus on fitness and strength work, and we plan to start with skills training in September. We are not rushed in any way at this stage, so this gives us the ideal opportunity to make sure all players are getting into the right habits and protocols.

“Everyone could do legwork, but not all the players had the same access to strength and gym training, so we will phase that in,” the Blitzboks coach explained.

Powell’s management had a productive meeting on Monday and the coach said everyone started with a positive mindset and energy.

“We need to make sure that we do things right from the start, so it was good to touch base with everybody again and plan what we want out of the early part of our return,” he said.

Staff Reporter