Don’t read anything about our coach into this post’s heading. Paul Treu is anything but a gambling coach.
The dazzling lights of Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States, welcomes the fourth IRB Sevens World Series tournament this weekend and the South African Sevens team will be hoping to turn their flagging fortunes around with a much better performance in the famous glittering city.
I think everybody will agree that the South African Sevens mentor is a thinking coach and his every move, from preparation, team selection and substitutions on the day is a measured decision. If I have learned anything about him in the last couple of weeks, the only gamble he will probably venture is ” One coffee or two?! ”
The BlitzBokke have found the going tough this season, losing to nemesis Fiji in the quarter-final of each of the previous three Series tournaments in Dubai, George and Wellington.
On Saturday the two teams will meet ironically much earlier in the tournament, when they square up against each other in a mouth watering Pool B match. This encounter might well decide the winner of a pool that also includes the fast-improving hosts, the USA, and a Canadian team keen to show that their appearance in the last eight in Wellington was no stroke of luck.
Mzwandile Stick, captain of the Springbok Sevens team in the injury-forced absence of Paul Delport, echoed the words of his coach, Paul Treu that the team must convert their possession and territorial advantage into points.
Speaking to Seb Lauzier of www.irbsevens.com in Las Vegas earlier today, Stick (pictured below) said:
“There is not much wrong with our game, really. We had all the play and the possession last week in Wellington, even against big teams like New Zealand. However, we did not convert those areas into points, and that is something that we must improve on.
“Las Vegas is a fantastic venue and a great place and everybody is excited about playing here, however, our minds and focus are totally on our forthcoming matches and to improve on our performances so far this season,” said Stick.
South Africa will again be looking to the experience of Stick, Frankie Horne, Mpho Mbiyozo and Kyle Brown to secure enough possession and to bring into play the exciting young talent of Cecil Afrika (below), who excelled in Wellington whenever he was given a chance with the ball.
Veteran Marius ‘Shoes’ Schoeman will equal Fabian Juries’ South African record for the most appearances in the IRB Series, when he plays in his 42nd tournament. Stick will be running out in his 35th tournament.
Records are meant to be improved upon. Congratulations Shoes!
Meanwhile, word from the BlitzBokke camp is that the Boys got time to let their hair down today (yesterday Vegas time) when they went to see guitar maestro Carlos Santana perform live at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s The Joint. Hopefully South Africa will find a way around Fiji’s “Evil Ways” this weekend!