Sevens

Blitzboks regroup with an eye on the Olympics

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Blitzboks coach Neil Powell. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)
  • The Blitzboks have regrouped at their training base in Stellenbosch.
  • Coach Neil Powell says next year's Olympics remain high on the priority list.
  • Captain Siviwe Soyizwapi adds that the return of many familiar faces is a boost to the squad.

The Springbok Sevens squad regrouped in Stellenbosch this week after their season was interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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According to coach Neil Powell, the Blitzboks have placed the Tokyo Olympics as their ultimate goal. 

Powell stressed that the Tokyo Games, pencilled in from 23 July to 8 August 2021, remains an important date in the team's calendar.  

The postponed World Rugby Sevens Series was set to wrap up the 2019/2020 season, but it fell way along with the final four tournaments due to the pandemic.

The Blitzboks were handed silver medals for their second-place finish behind New Zealand following the completion of six tournaments.  

"We would have returned from the Olympics a few days ago if it had not been postponed, so it's easy to remind ourselves that it's unfinished business," Powell said via a press statement.

"We have again pencilled that in as part of the planning for the next season, as that is one of the few confirmed dates available. One thing we have on our side for now is time, and we restarted this week with that in mind."

Meanwhile, Springbok Sevens captain Siviwe Soyizwapi said the return of many familiar faces was a boost to the whole squad.

The players were tested on Tuesday in line with a number of return-to-training protocols, while the team's medical staff also assessed the players' physical and mental well-being.

The strength and conditioning element of training started on Wednesday.  

"It is really good to see team-mates again, although some only from a distance," said Soyizwapi.

As per the Covid-19 guidelines, the Blitzboks are working in groups of five and will continue to do so while the return to play protocols are in place.

"We are adhering to the relevant guidelines and social distancing, and we all realise the importance of staying healthy in these opening weeks and making sure we do our bit with regards to the protocols.  

"There is some time to go before we will play our first match, but just to be back with the group and to start training again is a wonderful opportunity for us to get the season going," Soyizwapi added.

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