The coaching and management team of the Springbok Sevens team spent a good deal of time working and interacting with their Springbok counterparts in Cape Town this week.
Neil Powell and Renfred Dazel, respective coaches of the Springbok Sevens men’s and women’s teams, attended most of the Boks’ training sessions this week, while the operational staff also worked closely with their colleagues from the national team.
“The schedules of the Springboks and the two Sevens teams are very full and seldom allows for interaction between the two management teams, so it was great to have all of them in Cape Town this week where they could spend time together, interact and share ideas,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union.
According to Rassie Erasmus, SARU’s High Performance General Manager, one of the Springbok Sevens’ key objectives is to align themselves, as a brand of SARU, with the Springbok.
“We have a unique situation where we have a full-time Sevens programme, which gives us the ability to apply specific methodologies which we believe aids our performance on the HSBC Sevens World Series, and multi-sport events such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games,” said Erasmus.
“Our view has always been that the Springbok management team can contribute to the development of the Sevens system, and thus improve performance.
“We also believe that the Sevens programme can play an important role in the ongoing development of players, empowering them with unique and specialized skill sets that, when applied in the 15-man code, will aid their performances.”
Erasmus pointed out Cornal Hendricks and Cheslin Kolbe, two recent examples of Springbok Sevens stars, who made a successful transition to the 15-man game.
“Cornal and Cheslin have integrated very well into the 15-man game,” said Erasmus.
“Working with the Springbok management will bring the Sevens management team closer to the Boks’ management and coaching philosophies, which will allow us to evolve our coaching programmes, thus aligning these two high performance teams.
“We also believe that integrating our Sevens system with the Springboks, can expedite the transition from becoming a Blitzbok to a Springbok.”
Heyneke Meyer, Springbok coach, said it was good to spend some time with their Sevens counterparts.
“Our schedules don’t really overlap and we don’t see Neil, Renfred and their colleagues a lot, but it was great to have them with us this week,” said Meyer.
“They are doing a superb job with the Springbok Sevens teams and as we’ve seen with the elevation of Cornal this week, there is room for cooperation between our teams.”
Sebastian Prim, national Sevens manager, said: “There is always room for development and cross pollination of skills, and we were very privileged to be able to shadow our colleagues. We will certainly look at our system and make every effort to bring our training environments closer together.
“By integrating the two systems will ensure that we can also play a healthy part in developing South African players with skill sets that will make both codes even more competitive on the international stage.
“We also looked at our off-field environment, and how it compared with the Springboks setup. Aspects from logistics, to conditioning and rehab, right through to video analysis and performance management were compared.
While our competition environment is uniquely different to the 15-man code, we always strive to evolve in order to create a performance environment, on and off the field, where players and management are able to function optimally, laying the groundwork for consistent successful performances.
“The Springbok Sevens staff benefitted immensely from the experience and hope to continue to build and develop the relationships built,” concluded Prim.