Springbok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, says the passionate George crowd will provide extra energy and motivation for his team when they defend their SA Sevens tournament title on Friday and Saturday at Outeniqua Park.
The South Africans won their home tournament title for the first time in 2008.
Champions of the George Sevens 2008: South Africa!
An opportunity to make amends
Treu said he is still very disappointed that his IRB Sevens World Series champions could not progress further than the Cup quarterfinals in last weekend’s Dubai event. According to him, his team now have the ideal chance to make up for their below par showing last week.
“The supporters were really fantastic last year and I am expecting the same on Friday and Saturday. Any team will tell you that nothing beats the feeling of playing in front of your own crowd,” explained the SA coach.
He added that the failed attempt in Dubai will not force him to change his approach or his team’s tactics. “We’ve worked very hard during the pre-season and our system has served us well last season. We are missing several regulars from the 2008/09 season, but that is no excuse. This squad is full of talent and we must quickly learn to play consistently well over two days.”
Johnny Bravo in Green & Gold
Deon Helberg, the SA squad member who was onboard the SA Airlink aircraft that left the runway and landed in a nearby street at the George Airport yesterday, took full part in today’s training session at the Saasveld sport grounds.
Deon Helberg (Pic: SA Rugby)
Treu was full of praise for the youngster’s bravery: “He is a young, bright lad and he has no negative effect from the unfortunate incident.
“From what I understood, he actually forced the plane’s door open and helped some of the other passengers to safety. He has slotted in very well into the team environment and I’m sure he will grab his chance with both hands when he gets a chance to play.
The SA Airlink plane that carried BlitzBok Deon Helberg to George (Pic: Sport24)
Helberg joined the squad last week in Dubai as replacement for Marius Schoeman. Sport24 yesterday reported that BlitzBokke coach Paul Treu has called in the services the team’s lifeskills coach Gavin Swanepoel to help speedster Deon Helberg cope with the after effects of the plane crash he was in on Monday morning.
Swanepoel has been flown down to George to spend time with the team ahead of the tournament, and in particular the 20-year old Helberg after his ordeal.
“We’ve asked Gavin to come down and spend some time with the team,” Treu told SuperRugby.co.za, “Deon says he is fine and that it hasn’t affected him much but with these type of situations you often don’t realise the effect until afterwards. We are hoping that it will help him and the rest of the team in this situation.”
Meantime, Schoeman has recovered from his calf injury and returns to the twelve man squad as replacement for Neil Powell.
“We are fortunate to be able to replace a stalwart like Neil with a veteran like Marius. He brings a lot of experience to the team and is very motivated to pull on the Springbok Sevens jersey again after suffering so many setbacks last season,” said Treu.