If you are are reading this article and you happen to be academically inclined, though more towards the sports medicine/sports psychology field, here’s a hint for a possible thesis:
Record and and interpret Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu’s vital statistics, both physical and emotional. Do this before, during and after the tournaments that make up the HSBC Sevens World Series and you may just have a winner. (Doc Ross Tucker, you’re disqualified because you already have a PhD and you’ve been right there with the coach through a Sevens Series.)
Paul (with earphones) and the SA bench getting some Hong Kong camera time. (Pic: Mike Jansen)
I’m always amazed at how the TV commentators like to describe Paul as the “image of cool, calm and collected” while his charges are on the pitch. While “collected” is probably the only description that fits, those of you who have been keeping your eye on the BlitzBokke coach while the Boys are playing as well as during the halftime break, will have noticed that this observation is just stront (hogwash). Anybody with half an eye on the coach will notice the emotional build-up and tension in the coach’s whole demeanor. Cameras or no cameras. Oh, to be a Polar heart-rate monitor strapped to the coach’s chest!
Tension and focus… and possibly planning the next move (pic: Mike Jansen)
Having said all that, there IS one thing that the coach always has… and that’s a plan.
A treu student of the game (pun intended), the coach undertakes annual trips locally and abroad to consult, watch and speak to experts who can add value to not only his personal preparation and development, but to that of his charges. Reading through his website, you will get an idea of the type and calibre of experts he has drawn into his inner circle of advisers.
Paul Treu recently spoke to SA Rugby Magazine’s Andy Capostagno where he shared some of his plans for the 2010/2011 HSBC Sevens World Series. He also spoke about his long-term plans including Sevens Rugby’s debut at the 2016 Olympic games. During the in-depth interview with Capostagno, Paul also reveals that he is ready for a possible “step up” to coaching a 15-man side.
“I feel I’m ready to step into 15-a-side and if there happened to be an opportunity at franchise level for me to get involved then I would definitely consider that.” he tells Capostagno.
Here’s an excerpt from the SA Rugby Magazine interview:
Paul Treu could be forgiven for groaning out loud when the draw for the first tournament of the 2010-11 Sevens World Series was announced at the end of October. That’s because the South African’s current bête noir, Australia, came out of the hat to join the Blitzboks in Pool B in Dubai.
Australia beat South Africa in the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October and have lost just once to Treu’s team in their last six meetings. Happily, the one South African victory happened to be in Dubai last year, but 2010 has largely been a year to forget for the Blitzboks.
After winning their first-ever World Series title in 2008-09, Treu’s charges only finished sixth on the log the following season. This season’s defending champions are Samoa, while New Zealand won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Injuries and moves into 15-a-side deprived South Africa of nearly all their hard won experience and under those circumstances, Treu was delighted to return from India with a bronze medal.
‘I think we’ve got to be happy, especially when you consider that most of those players played their first-ever sevens tournaments in Middelburg and Rustenburg a month before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Now they’re on the world stage and up against national players from the Wallabies and the All Blacks so it’s an amazing achievement really for these young boys.
‘Renfred Dazel was the only member of the squad who played in the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and the same group will stay together for the World Series tournaments in Dubai and George, so the future is looking good because a lot of them are still under 21.’
Among those missing due to injury were Frankie Horne (broken hand), Kyle Brown (hamstring), Stephen Hunt (knee ligaments) and Branco du Preez (shoulder). In addition, Mzwandile Stick, a former captain and playmaker, made the successful transition to 15-a-side that his talent has always suggested (Stick was at fullback for the EP Kings when they won the Currie Cup First Division title). So Treu was forced to dig deep into his playing resources and hope for the best in New Delhi.
The team won its opening four matches against Tonga, India and Wales in the group phase and then against Scotland in the quarter-finals. New boy Sibusiso Sithole scored a hat-trick on debut against India, and going into the semi-final against Australia the team had conceded just two tries in four starts.
‘I’ve been telling teams for years that defence wins you games and ultimately tournaments. I think we can be proud of the effort,’ says Treu.
The entire interview is here and an absolute must-read for any Springbok Sevens fan.
Here are some Paul Treu images that we have shared on BlitzBokke.com: