Sevens

Senatla's heart belongs to Sevens

2016-12-12 11:15
Seabelo Senatla (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The good news for the Blitzboks is that they have the services of star player Seabelo Senatla for two more tournaments. 

The bad news is that he will be unavailable after that as he turns his attention to Super Rugby, the Stormers and his quest to become a Springbok. 

It is a decision that has not been easy for the 2015/16 World Sevens player of the year, but it is one that he seems to have made peace with on some level. 

The fact that it has been a memorable two weeks for the Blitzboks - they won in Dubai and finished second in Cape Town - makes it even harder to leave, Senatla says. 

Interestingly, Senatla has not only received backing from coach Neil Powell in his 15s endeavour, but he has been encouraged to make the switch by his mentor. 

Powell sees something in Senatla that most rugby lovers do - abundant talent that should be tested at the highest level. 

For that reason, Powell and the rest of the Blitzboks have pushed Senatla towards giving 15s a real go. 

Still, Senatla's love and appreciation for the Sevens set-up is unmissable.

"This is my heart, this is my home. I am where I am today because of them," Senatla said of the Blitzboks.

"It wasn't an easy decision to go and play 15s but when you have the backing of the coach and him saying: 'My boy, go and give it a try. We need people like you in the 15s jersey' ... then why not?

"He (Powell) is a father figure to us and he's always looking for our best interests. He's always trying to push us from behind to do a little bit better.

"Taking that, you don't leave with a heavy heart. You leave with a peaceful mind knowing that you have the coach's blessing and that he is pushing for you to be there more than you are pushing for yourself.

"We've formed such and awesome brotherhood and we all enjoy being in each other's company. We laugh together, we hurt together and we're a family."

Senatla has two more Sevens tournaments with the Blitzboks in New Zealand (January 28-29) and Australia (February 4-5) before he joins the Stormers for Super Rugby. 

It means that he will miss the majority of pre-season at Newlands, but he does not see that as a major problem. 

"Currently my focus is just on Sevens. Pre-season with the Stormers will have to wait a bit ... I think I'll get there a bit late, but just before the season," he said.

"But I don't think I'm worried about that ... Sevens will give me all the conditioning I need."

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