Sevens Boks dare not falter
Johannesburg - Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu will make no prediction about how his side will do in the Hong Kong tournament of the IRB Sevens World Series that starts on Friday, except to say that they can come up with the goods if they make the quarter-finals.
"It won’t be easy," Treu said on Wednesday from Hong Kong. "Zimbabwe always get up for us, and Kenya for some seasons now are not just another team. It’s going to be very tough to win our pool and go through to the quarters."
The Boks face Zimbabwe first in their only match on Friday, and then play Kenya and Korea on Saturday before the playoffs on Sunday.
With six pools and only the winners advancing to the quarter-finals, the Springboks simply have to win their pool. The remaining two sides for the quarters will go through on points difference.
"We simply must make it to the quarters. After than it is a matter of keeping our composure and staying relaxed."
"We’ve showed that we can compete with anyone on the circuit and have beaten all the big guns. We have the potential, notwithstanding our inexperience, to take out any side - and we have been so close to more wins that would have given us a far better position on the standings than we have.
"The new guys in the team have shown that they have big match temperament. It is now a case of them showing some composure. We have to retain our focus, because it is the small little things that have cost us."
The Springboks had a good training run against home side Hong Kong.
"We ironed out a few things, and MJ Mentz slotted in well," said Treu.
Mentz was flown in as a replacement for Steven Hunt who was injured in the first minute of last week’s Adelaide tournament.
Treu says he had come down fairly hard on the team last weekend after they had squandered an opportunity of making if all the way to the Cup final in going down to Argentina who, despite reaching the semi-finals where they went out to the United States, seldom looked a top side in Adelaide.
"But it was necessary. The guys know they have the potential and they must now start taking to heart the things they’ve been taught and have experienced."
Pool A: Samoa, Argentina, Russia, Italy
Pool B: New Zealand, Scotland, France, Taipei
Pool C: Fiji, United States, Portugal, Thailand
Pool D: Australia, Canada, Tonga, China
Pool E: England, Wales, Japan, Hong Kong
Pool F: Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Korea