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Games must be priority


Blitzboks need to focus on Olympics and they have to become a more solid unit for next season in general

TEAM TALK: South Africas Sevens coach Neil Powell needs to shape his young team to become a formidable unit in the future, now that their hopes of another World Sevens Series title seems all but gone. Picture: BackpagePix

The Blitzboks’ chances of making it three consecutive World Sevens Series titles are just about zero.

Currently, the South Africans are fourth on the standings with 99 points, with the USA (130), Fiji (123) and New Zealand (118) occupying the first three places.

The defending series champions have played in – and won – only one final in the 2018/19 season.

After a struggling first half of the series, their Vancouver victory was much-needed, not just to give their fans a taste of what this team – disrupted by the departure of a large number of their senior players and a spate of injuries – can do, but maybe it was also important for the side itself to get a glimpse of that.

Especially seeing as there are quite a few youngsters in the group, and it’s not hard to imagine how a run of disappointing results can dent a young player’s confidence (any player actually, but especially the less-experienced ones).

A big talking point this season has been the importance of securing a top-four spot with the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 looming.

And that’s exactly what the Blitzboks need to focus on.

With only three tournaments remaining in the current season, there’s not enough time for the Springbok Sevens team to play catch-up, besides, that would also require a drastic dip from the log-leaders.

What they need to focus on is the Olympics. And not only that, but becoming a better unit for next season in general.

It was always going to be a tough season given the transition phase they are in.

And while I’m not saying the Blitzboks should just chuck the next three tournaments in the bin, the focus now should continue to be on that growth and improvement coach Neil Powell has mentioned so often in 2019.

The Singapore, Paris and London legs should serve as an opportunity for the guys to better understand their roles and for the team, as a collective, to gel better.

And if the first box is ticked, the next one will follow.

Sure, it would have been great to go into the Olympics with the confidence that would have come with yet another series title, but sometimes you need to make do with what you have. And this happens to be one of those times.

This youthful Blitzbok team have shown how they can click when they get it right, they’ve shown it in patches this season and they certainly showed it in Canada.

Now they should just focus on working towards doing that consistently, and it’s only growth that will make that a reality. Growth that they can continue to nurture in the remaining tournaments.

So ja, there is still a lot to play for … and that doesn’t have to involve another series title.