Ex-Blitzbok coach Treu launches high-performance app that helped Pumas win Currie Cup

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Paul Treu. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Paul Treu. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
  • Ex-Blitzbok coach Paul Treu has extended his influence from the field to tech after launching a high-performance app that helped the Pumas win the Currie Cup.
  • Treu described it as a high-performance programme with player wellness and collaborative features, allowing all departments to "talk to each other".
  • The app is endorsed by Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick, a brand ambassador, while Singapore 7s, SWD, Griffons and UJ have jumped on board.

Pathfinding former SA Sevens head coach Paul Treu has taken his rugby and sporting nous to the tech world, developing a wellness and high-performance app that helped the Pumas win the Currie Cup.

Treu has largely been credited with transforming the Springbok Sevens' culture, picking up from Chester Williams, and turning the previously parochial version of the game into a truly professional and high-performance setup.

Treu, the current head coach of UWC Rugby, holds a master's degree in sports directorship from the Manchester Metropolitan University. He has not rested on his laurels and wants to impact sport in a way not many former players and coaches do.

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Treu said he was inspired to create the application called PhasePlay.io by his desire to learn about players and systems constantly.

"It's about learning. That's what inspires me," Treu said.

"Being in the Sevens environment for so long, the speed at which you learn is so critical because you don't have any time to waste.

"As soon as new players come in, they need to grasp new concepts and to understand new systems and processes, especially when it comes to technical awareness and those kinds of things.

"It's all about accelerating that learning curve.

"Football is way, way ahead. Other sports like the NBA basketball and the NFL, they’re also way ahead of where rugby is supposed to be."

The app has already shown its benefits.

The Pumas, who stunned Griquas in Kimberley during this year's Currie Cup final, used it in its development phase.

Other teams have hopped on board the app, which has attracted overseas and local attention from high schools and universities.

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick also endorses the app, along with Russia Sevens head coach Vuyo Zanqa. They are both brand ambassadors.

"You can do your scheduling and your chats, take them away from WhatsApp. At UWC, we deleted all our WhatsApp groups for rugby because that's a social platform. It's not for work," Treu explained.

"Over the years, I always felt there was a need for an integrated platform where teams can make their workflow more effective and be more efficient with their reporting, time management and coaching.

"Melbourne Rugby Union Football Club is going to start a trial next week. The Singapore 7s are using it for wellness and UJ is going to buy a licence for all their sports.

"Stellenberg High School bought a licence two weeks ago and Maties Rugby is going to start using it for their new season.

"The Pumas used it when it was still in its development phase but it's now way more advanced. They used it the past season when they won the Currie Cup.

"SWD and Griffons have also started using it."

High-performance applications in the game aren't necessarily new. However, different systems are used to offer different solutions.

Tracking wellness and medical progress - injuries and workload management - has often been on separate programmes, if at all.

The head coach often has to rely on the medical staff report to get a full picture of how their players are doing.

But in a real-time, pressure environment, accuracy and time are of the essence.

Treu, who told News24 about SA's complexities in dealing with director of rugby appointments in light of the Sharks' coaching changes this week, has invested his intellectual property into solving these puzzles.

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"How do you manage your team and you don't know what's going on with your players within it?" he said.

"What's happening with your injured players, or when a player comes in during the morning? That player might have had a tough training session but you don’t know how they recovered the next day.

"It's about getting a full picture of player development and well-being.

"Your strength and conditioning coaches have always been frustrated because the departments work in silos and can be disconnected.

"They have their own folders and information, then you have the coaches who are completely on another platform. These things were never aligned or spoke to each other.

"Working with the Springbok Sevens and the Stormers, I felt that a lot of kids had struggled when they come from school level and into provincial and professional teams to take in all the information and found it difficult to [adjust] to the way things are being done at an elite level."

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