In the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, Neil Powell reveals how the Springbok Sevens squad have adopted new-look training programmes despite facing an uncertain future.
With Covid-19 raging on, leaving havoc and destruction in its wake, the Blitzboks’ playing schedule was thrown into disarray and their future clouded with uncertainty.
Suddenly, Powell’s best-laid plans needed to be comprehensively revised; and, even so, the financial constraints this pandemic placed on the game’s governing bodies – in this case SA Rugby – could well mean that Springbok Sevens’ very existence could be under threat.
In the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, Powell concedes the uncertainty is weighing heavy.
‘My biggest concern is the uncertainty of what the next year will look like, what the next World Series will look like and if there’ll be an Olympic Games,’ he says.
‘With that second wave of Covid-19 cases hitting pretty much every nation, there’s more and more uncertainty. I’m also worried about the system. If you look at how many sevens systems closed down over the Covid-19 period, it’s a worrying trend.
‘The England sevens programme and the Wales sevens programme have been closed down. It says a lot that the RFU – the most opulent rugby union in the world – couldn’t afford to keep its sevens programme running.
‘It’s a bit of a tough time in terms of finances for SA Rugby, so if we’re not playing, it is a possibility that Springbok Sevens will also close down.’
This is an excerpt from an in-depth feature article published in the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine.
In the full article, Powell talks about the postponement of the Olympics and how they managed to turn the scheduling disruption into their favour, how the coaching staff had to reinvent themselves and take on greater responsibilities, and how the relative success of several sevens players in 15s leave a bitter-sweet taste in the mouth.
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