The Springbok Sevens team for the New Zealand and Las Vegas legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series was announced during a press conference at the Blitzbokke’s new home at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport yesterday.
As I expected, coach Paul Treu was asked about media speculation that he may have been approached to form part of the new Springbok 15s coach’s management team.
Ashfak Mohamed from iol.co.za did me the favor and got the following response from Treu:
“I think it is really an honour if there are people who think I can make a contribution to Springbok rugby. But my focus is really on the Sevens, this journey,” he said.
“We’ve worked so hard to get to this point, it is where I want to be and it is my passion. If I can make a contribution to South African rugby, I will always try my best. But at the moment, this is where my focus is and where I want to be.”
Always the diplomat, asked about his stance should a Springbok job be in the offing, Treu continued:
“I can’t comment on something that isn’t possible and which hasn’t been discussed with me. It is speculation and people’s opinions. My focus can only be here. The Sevens is why Saru appointed me.”
“This is what I started with the guys, and it is a commitment and journey that I would want to honour. All I can say is that there isn’t anything I would rather do than what I am doing now. It would be heartbreaking for me to walk away from this team. We are a family here.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m happy with the coach’s comments so far. I don’t buy this nonsense that a call-up to the Springbok 15s side is akin to ‘higher honours.’
That statement alone makes a mockery of what Sevens Rugby and indeed the Springbok Sevens Team is. It discounts the sweat, blood and tears players, administrators and yes, the fans have shed in the process of becoming a fully professional sport; one deemed important enough to be included in the Olympic family.
While I will support the coach in whatever decision he eventually takes (should the opportunity presents itself) I for one would like no one other than Paul to take the team all the way to the Rio Olympics in 2016.
You can ask any Olympic athlete and the answer will always be the same: becoming an Olympic Athlete is a process that spans many years and endless hard yards. Treu has put in those yards and deserve to be in Rio in 2016.
However, we’re dealing with SARU in this regard and you will agree that we will only know exactly what’s going on in the hallowed halls and boardrooms of SA Rugby HQ in Newlands in the next couple of day.
May sanity prevail.
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