In the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, Blitzboks boss Neil Powell looks ahead to what could be an unexpectedly congested schedule in the lead-up to the Olympics Games next July.
Like all other sporting events and tournaments, the 2019-20 World Rugby Sevens Series was unceremoniously suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time of the suspension, only six of the scheduled 10 Sevens Series tournaments had been completed, with the remaining four in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Paris pushed back until at least September and October. The 2020 Olympic Games were also postponed until July 2021.
This means sevens teams will have a much-shorter turnaround between the current and the next season, while also having to complete a blockbuster playing schedule just before the jetting off to the Olympics.
‘Effectively, we’ll have to compete in 14 tournaments plus Olympics in one season,’ Powell said worriedly.
‘With those final four tournaments rescheduled for September and October, the next season is going to be a long one. We’d have to play the Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris and London tournaments, and then there’ll be no substantial break before we head to the Dubai Sevens, which kicks off the 2020-21 campaign.
‘We’ll have to manage the system, players and even management well to ensure we get to Tokyo in a good mental and physical state. We’ll target at least two tours in the regular season where we will give other players in the sevens system an opportunity to play and send different management [the academy staff] to oversee those tours.’
Read more about Powell’s revised preparation plans for the way forward, his views on how the rescheduled Olympics will impact the older players on the circuit, his highlight of the season so far and who his standout Blitzbok players have been this campaign in the new issue of the magazine.