Johannesburg - Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu pronounced himself a satisfied man as he started to finish his preparations ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament this weekend in Moscow.
According to the supersport.com website, Treu’s team ended off their main preparations with a session in stifling heat in Moscow on Wednesday, and then will continue on Thursday with a light gym session before heading into Friday’s opening game against hosts Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium.
After an initial worry about the workload for Junior Boks Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla, Treu pronounced himself happy that the two were brought in slowly, and with the excellent work done by his medical team to lighten their workload and slot them into the team environment at the same time.
“I was a bit concerned earlier in the week when the two Junior Boks couldn’t train with us earlier this week. There were also a few dropped balls in the first practice and you start worrying that this could be a long week,” Treu explained.
“The way the guys found their rhythm in the practice was great and the way they ended off the session, as well as the defensive session made me very happy. It feels like there is progression from day one to two. Cheslin (Kolbe) and Seabelo (Senatla) have now slotted in well and look like they’ve never left.
“We’ve just got to continue ticking the boxes and keep managing the guys in terms of their energy levels and expectations.”
Making sure the excitement is tempered is an exact science in this team. Treu monitors every little detail, including quizzing players on their sleep patterns, to ensure they will be at their optimum level on Friday when the tournament starts.
While most teams have shunned 15s stars in the tournament, sticking to their specialists, Treu’s 15s influx is there but a bit different. The players who have come in for the World Cup have all played sevens before and know exactly what is expected of them going into this tournament.
The biggest difference between 15s and sevens is reaction time, with players being asked to get back on their feet a lot faster and contribute a lot more to both attack and defence than in the longer version of the game.
“We’ve been very selective in which players we’ve brought back. The players we invited and who we eventually selected were the players who can adapt easily and who are very explosive in the games. It doesn’t matter what happens in Sevens, you want Seven players on their feet at all times.
“These guys can bounce, get back up on their feet, take the ball up and then get up again for what we call our second efforts. They also stay in line on defence very well. They can perform the role we want them to perform. So it is more about the energy than fitting in. We just want the guys to perform their role and they’re excited by the prospect. Now it’s simply getting on the park on Friday and starting the campaign.”
The Blitzbokke open their campaign against hosts Russia at 17:14 SA time. All games are live on SuperSport.