Senatla focused on sevens

Blitzboks star Seabelo Senatla says he will do everything in his power to earn inclusion in the Olympic squad for next year’s Rio Games, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

After featuring for Western Province during this season’s Currie Cup, Senatla will now shift his attention back to the sevens circuit, with the 2015-16 World Series kicking off on 4 December in Dubai.

‘My focus is on sevens, and now more than ever going into an Olympic year. There will be a rotational system in place because it's going to be a big squad, so there might be an opportunity to play Super Rugby at some point, but really my sole focus for this period is on sevens. This is the most important year of my life, I’ve wanted this for a long time. I want to get as much game time as I can so that I’ll be in the best possible position to make the Olympic squad.’

With a host of high-profile 15s players having been included in an extended sevens squad announced on Wednesday, Senatla said he knew there would be plenty of competition for places.

‘It’s a massive boost for us to get experienced guys in who have played Test rugby, and it can only benefit the sevens side. As youngsters, we can learn a lot from them, and the competition is a good thing.’

Having experienced both sevens and 15s rugby, Senatla appreciates the challenges of alternating between the two forms of the game.

‘Sevens obviously involves a lot more running, and 15s a lot more contact. So the challenge coming from 15s is that you have to be running fit and defend more space. Those are the aspects you have to get used to, such as the speed of the game, which is very dynamic. When you come from 15s to sevens, it is a challenge, but I’m sure the players coming in will manage, they have the skills to play this sort of game. It's a very exciting time.’

Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis