Treu’s future uncertain

2013-08-15 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The future is uncertain for Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu after he officially parted ways with the South African Rugby Union (Saru) on Tuesday.

According to the supersport.com website, the statement that brought to an end the South African Sevens team’s run with their most successful coach in history was amicable, but behind the scenes things were apparently a lot more tense as Treu’s journey came to an end.

While there have been some overtures made to Treu to stay on in Saru’s structures — either as part of Rassie Erasmus’s mobile coaching unit or as assistant coach to the SA U20 side— it seems the Sevens coach may continue in the shortened game and join one of the other core IRB Sevens sides after receiving interest from both Kenya and England as a possible replacement for their coaches.

Ironically, it seems that Treu’s management style was at the heart of the change, as on performance the team won more IRB Series events than World Champions New Zealand in the last season and other than Gordon Tietjens, Treu has won more tournaments on the circuit than any other coach.

Added to this there is still a lot of uncertainty as to how the appointment in the interim of Neil Powell and Vuyo Zangqa as joint coaches of the team can work. While the duo took the team to Gold in a weakened World Games in Colombia recently, history has shown that joint appointments are hardly conducive to success at any level, let alone the pressure cooker of Sevens rugby.

Still, either way, there were rumours that Treu was on his way out as far back as February, but the Boks’ inability to get beyond the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Russia sealed his fate.

In the interim, he was linked with the USA job, but that was given to South African-born player Matt Hawkins, while Kenya have reportedly made him an offer to replace Mike Friday. However, the lack of structures and political in-fighting in the Kenyan rugby scene may put Treu off, while England’s recent parting from their coach Ben Ryan has opened up a new possibility.

Saru president Oregan Hoskins confirmed the move and praised Treu in the statement on the parting of ways.

“Paul’s contribution to Sevens rugby in this country over the past decade has been outstanding,” said Hoskins. “He has built the team and the brand of Sevens rugby through his passion and expertise and has made our Springbok team a regular contender for tournament and Series honours. He has established our Sevens programme and made an enormous contribution to the game.

“However, there comes a point where there is a need for renewal and in discussions with Paul and other stakeholders, there was a general sentiment that we had reached that point.”

Treu said: “I have had a wonderful time at Saru and would like to thank the organisation for the opportunity they have given me. We have had some wonderful highs in the past 10 seasons and I hope I have added value to South African rugby.”

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