Barely a week after winning a superb gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, South Africa’s men’s Sevens team is set to turn its attentions back to the HSBC Sevens World Series.
After a few days’ rest and recovery the Springbok Sevens assemble back at their base in Stellenbosch on Monday to start preparations ahead the 2014/15 Series, which kicks off on Australia’s Gold Coast on 11-12 October.
The emphasis on an early start is perhaps understandable – the top four-ranked sides at the end of the coming Series will qualify directly for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – and the Blitzboks will also be brimming with confidence.
“It was an awesome performance by the team, the guys really worked hard to realise this dream we shared. We needed some special moments in the final against a very good New Zealand side and every player responded when called upon,” said coach Neil Powell, who also paid tribute to the South African public and SASCOC for their support in Glasgow.
“It was fantastic to be part of Team South Africa and to represent our country in a different sporting environment. We are just happy that we could have contributed to the overall effort.”
Captain Kyle Brown was injured during the final match, in which South Africa beat New Zealand 17-12. He will undergo further medical treatment to his shoulder this week to learn his fate.
“We could almost feel the support from the people back home and it was great to be encouraged by the SA teams from other codes,” he said.
“We would like to also use this opportunity to thank them for their marvellous support and to wish those who must still compete at the Games all the best.”
Powell also extended his gratitude to the Golden Lions and Free State Rugby Unions for releasing star performers Warren Whiteley and Cornal Hendricks. Both players are contracted to their respective unions and not to the Springbok Sevens, unlike the rest of the group.
“Cornal and Warren played a massive role in our success and contributed so much on and off the field, so we would like to thank the respective unions for releasing them to us for this period.”