Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Treu fancies Olympic crack
Cape Town - Long-time Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu admits that retaining his post through to the 2016 Olympics is a "personal target".
That is when the code will make its debut as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janeiro and, fuelled by the late-season 2010/11 success of a Blitzbokke side teeming with young talent, Treu would like to extend his tenure by another five years if he possibly can.
Having held the post for some seven years already, his CV includes guidance of his charges to world champion status in the HSBC Sevens World Series of 2008/09, as well as the bronze medal at the most recent Commonwealth Games.
And their strong finish to the latest World Series – successive victories in the London and Edinburgh legs for season runners-up status to New Zealand – ought to have only entrenched his position as main mastermind.
"It's certainly an attractive target as a country and for me as a coach," Treu told Sport24 after the team's arrival here on Tuesday evening.
"It's not every day that you can say you have the chance of a stab at an Olympic medal, irrespective of its colour," he enthused.
"Of course it's up to SA Rugby what happens further up the line, and it's a fairly long way away.
"At the moment SA Rugby's big and important drive, together with our sponsors (Absa), is to implement the structures to ensure that our recent success is going to be more long-term - sustainable and stable.
"If we can achieve that, then a lot of the personnel presently involved will have every chance of going through to 2016."
Treu is personally locked into a contract, along with the rest of his present back-up staff, until 2013.
But as he pointed out, 2014 will be Olympic qualifying year, so that quickly becomes a key goal (every country must undergo the process) after the brains trust is sealed anew - it is hard to envisage a major shakeup under those circumstances.
"I've been reading quite a bit about the American basketballers ... those top, top athletes who don’t need anything in the world; they've got all the money they need and yet gold at the Olympics for the USA means so very much to them.
"So of course the personal (hunger) is there."
Apart from being one of the most household coaching personalities on the World Series circuit, Treu is respected for being his own man, not afraid to buck established norms.
In recent tournaments, for instance, he has been perfectly happy at times for the Blitzbokke to adopt a more conservative, robust, phase-play approach to grind out vital victories, when conventional wisdom has it that Sevens is all about spreading the ball willy-nilly to wider areas on the park.