Neil Powell has revealed the reason behind the decision to move his Blitzboks into the Olympic Village just three days before their quest for gold at the Olympic Games gets under way in Tokyo.
The Olympic sevens competition is set to take place from 26 to 31 July at the Tokyo Stadium and, unlike most other teams that will base themselves at the Olympic Village, the Springboks Sevens squad hold a pre-tournament camp in Kagoshima – the same city where the Springboks prepared ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Powell confirmed that the Blitzboks will go into the village just three days prior (23 July) to the start of the sevens event.
‘The first time we will go to the Olympic Village will be three days before we play, and that is something that I am totally pleased about – there are totally too many distractions there in the village for the young guys,’ Powell said.
‘It’s a combination of things [to win gold]. That’s why I mentioned the distractions.
‘In Rio, we were in the village long before the time. We also learnt things during the tournament, and when we ended top of our group, we made a few changes to the starting side, which I felt broke our momentum a little bit.
‘If we had to keep the starting team together, I think we would have had better momentum going into the semi-final. So, such small lessons from Rio that we hope will help us to perform better in Tokyo.’
In 2016, the Powell and his charges had to settle for a bronze medal after they were eliminated by Great Britain in the semi-finals.