Paul Treu praises Blitzbokke
Cape Town - The Blitzbokke's coach Paul Treu lauded his team and management for their resilience and character on the final day of the Edinburgh Sevens when they won their second HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in as many weeks, cementing their second place on the overall standings.
The team had to fight back form 7-28 and then 19-35 down in the Edinburgh final against Australia and eventually ran out winners by 36-35, scoring three tries in the last two minutes.
Treu and his squad arrived back in South Africa late on Tuesday afternoon, proudly carrying the trophies they won in England and Scotland in the last two weeks.
"It was remarkable as we only had eight fit players in the squad at that stage, with four guys seriously injured. Apart from that, a few more played through the pain barrier," said Treu.
"I cannot praise this group of players enough. They really did well when it mattered most and deserved to end the season with two brilliant tournament victories. Credit must also go to Alan Temple-Jones and Hugh Everson, our medical and conditioning team, for the superb work they put in.
"The conditioning of our entire squad was superb and the guys really pushed each other very hard. We focused on mental endurance - when your body shuts down, you keep on pushing yourself through mental resilience, and it showed in the final in Edinburgh."
The Blitzbokke finished the season strongly, with only winners New Zealand ahead of them on the overall standings.
"We always knew the start of the season was going to be tough, because we had a lot of new players in the system and it takes time to build a team, as we've seen with provincial and Super Rugby teams as well.
"Things really started coming together after the Wellington tournament, when our team leadership decided we needed to make a mental change in our approach and get back to the basics of the game, focusing on doing the small things right. The players realised we put in the real hard work during training in Stellenbosch, but weren't executing well enough in tournaments," said Treu.
Kyle Brown, the captain, reiterated what Treu said: "We really push each other hard in training in Stellenbosch. When it came down to only nine fit players before the final in Edinburgh, we knew we had put in the ground work. A lot of credit must go to the players who were broken, but held it together and fought through."
Ms Pholisa Magqibelo, Regional Manager: Absa Group Marketing and Communications, handed over a specially framed picture displaying the three tournament wins in 2011, in Las Vegas, London and Edinburgh.
"From Absa’s side, we are honoured to have our name on this team's jerseys and proud of their remarkable achievements. On behalf of all Absa employees and customers - very well done to Paul and his team," she said.