Paul Treu lamented the Springbok Sevens’ poor start to their World Series title defence.
Last season, the Blitzboks were in a strong position after winning both cup finals at the Dubai and George Sevens, which set the platform for them to go on and secure their first World Series title.
After two tournaments in the 2009-10 season, however, the Boks find themselves in a disappointing eighth place on the World Series log on 16 points, trailing leaders New Zealand by 32 points.
Treu’s men have shown no sign of the form they had last year and their low self-confidence has been clear in their lackluster performances.
‘It is very disappointing for us,’ said Treu. ‘We came into the first two tournaments as defending champions and to have lost in both plate finals, that’s not the result that we were expecting.
‘But that’s life, it’s going to knock you down, there’s going to be obstacles in your way and unfortunately for us we’ll just have to regroup and look forward to the next two tournaments.’
To be fair to the Boks, they have lost key individuals because of injury and disciplinary issues, leaving Treu with quite an inexperienced squad comparing to the one he had last year, which included the likes of Robert Ebersohn, Lionel Mapoe and Gio Aplon who have committed to their respective Super 14 franchises.
Stalwart Marius Schoeman was absent for the opening Dubai tournament due to a calf strain, while Neil Powell picked up a shoulder injury that ruled him out for the George Sevens.
The in form Rayno Benjamin also missed the South African leg as he was suspended for verbal abuse against Treu and team-mates, and the Boks’ situation worsened as they lost skipper Paul Delport in the opening fixtures because of injury.
But Treu still believes the other experienced players have not stepped up thus far.
‘We had an excellent run last year. We only used 17 players and I don’t think it’s ever going to happen again, said Treu.
‘We were a bit unlucky with the injuries but it’s still no excuse for me because I was disappointed by our senior players. I expect them to step up and I don’t think they were fully committed to their roles and responsibilities but that’s a learning curve and hopefully the guys will learn and not make the same mistakes again.’