One of the lekker things about social media is that I could ‘track’ the travels of the Springbok Sevens team as they made their way back to South Africa.
The BlitzBokke clinched their second two-in-a-row tournaments on the HSBC Sevens World Series circuit with a fine win at Murrayfield last weekend.
I know I always go on about fate and serendipity, but it was just weird how I was browsing the Emirates website looking for an A380 flight from Hong Kong to Dubai (I’m going home to Cape Town for the summer holidays soon!) At the same time a couple of tweets and FaceBook entries from Dubai Airport came in… from the BlitzBokke. The Boys were on a stop-over en-route to Cape Town.
From the messages I could see that while they really enjoyed the tour, the players were really longing to be home. It was a hard 2 weeks in London and Edinburgh.
Coach Paul Treu and his squad arrived back in South Africa late yesterday afternoon, proudly carrying the trophies they won in England and Scotland in the last two weeks.
“It was remarkable as we only had eight fit players in the squad at that stage, with four guys seriously injured. Apart from that, a few more played through the pain barrier,” said Treu. (@paultreu on Twitter)
“I can not praise this group of players enough. They really did well when it mattered most and deserved to end the season with two brilliant tournament victories. Credit must also go to Alan Temple-Jones and Hugh Everson, our medical and conditioning team, for the superb work they put in.
“The conditioning of our entire squad was superb and the guys really pushed each other very hard. We focused on mental endurance – when your body shuts down, you keep on pushing yourself through mental resilience, and it showed in the final in Edinburgh.”
Take a bow Hugh Everson and Alan Temple-Jones (Pic: Mike Jansen, Howzit-HongKong.com)
The Springbok Sevens team finished the season strongly, with only winners New Zealand ahead of them on the overall standings.
“We always knew the start of the season was going to be tough, because we had a lot of new players in the system and it takes time to build a team, as we’ve seen with provincial and Vodacom Super Rugby teams as well.
“Things really started coming together after the Wellington tournament, when our team leadership decided we needed to make a mental change in our approach and get back to the basics of the game, focusing on doing the small things right. The players realised we put in the real hard work during training in Stellenbosch, but weren’t executing well enough in tournaments,” said Treu.
Springbok Skipper Kyle Brown (@kylegbrown) reiterated what Treu said: “We really push each other hard in training in Stellenbosch. When it came down to only nine fit players before the final in Edinburgh, we knew we had put in the ground work. A lot of credit must go to the players who were broken, but held it together and fought through.”
Ms Pholisa Magqibelo, Regional Manager: Absa Group Marketing and Communications, handed over a specially framed picture displaying the three tournament wins in 2011, in Las Vegas, London and Edinburgh.
“From Absa’s side, we are honoured to have our name on this team’s jerseys and proud of their remarkable achievements. On behalf of all Absa employees and customers – very well done to Paul and his team” she said.
Stand up for the Champions! The BlitzBokke won in London & Edinburgh.