South Africa works on building team
5 March, 2019, 5:30 am
SIZE doesn’t matter, says South African 7s coach, Neil Powell.
He made the comments following his side’s 12-14 loss to Fiji in the fifth place semi-final of the HSBC Las Vegas 7s at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Fiji Times asked the South African coach whether the lack of height and size was a factor in the side’s lack luster performance this season.
“It’s not always about the size,” Powell said.
“You can get a big guy but he is not physical and you can get a smaller guy but he is physical..it’s better to get the smaller guy.”
What is more important to Powell is mental toughness from his players.
“It’s more about the mental toughness that we are looking for,” Powell said.
The South African side lost about seven players this season to 15s and Super Rugby, which include Kwagga Smith and former World Sevens Player of the Year, Seabelo Senatla.
Bronze medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and world champion in the last two years, South Africa is currently at fourth place.
Its best performance this season has been as a bronze medal winner at home in Cape Town.
One of the countries that has the best sevens rugby program in the world, South Africa has a core group of players but made four changes for the Las Vegas and Vancouver legs of the World Sevens Series.
“Yes, we lost a few players, we are busy bonding and as the season goes along we will get better .
“We may give one or two guys opportunities but we will keep the core group until the end of the season. We made four changes coming into this tournament.
“I think what we are lacking probably is a little bit of consistency in player selection,” Powell said.
Powell is more concerned at the moment on fine tuning their “processes” on the field.
“We do not focus on the outcomes but the processes and how we want to play on the field,” Powell said when asked on his team’s prospects of a top four finish this season and automatic qualification for Tokyo 2020.
“And if we do the processes right and we get the efforts out there on the field we will get the results we want.”
Would South Africa bring in its Super Rugby players later on in the season as part of their preparation for the Olympic Games?
“That is a top secret. I am not going to let secrets out,” Powell said.