Blitzboks won’t have ‘player luxury’

Paul Treu says he won’t be able to call up all the players he wants for the SA Sevens’ run at the Commonwealth Games like New Zealand and Australia.

The New Zealand Sevens have bolstered their team by calling up the likes of Zac Guildford, Hosea Gear, Brendon Leonard and Adam Thomson for Commonwealth Games squad trials while Australia have selected out-of-favour Wallabies wing Lachie Turner. Both teams finished second and third respectively in the recent World Series and will be favourites to achieve a medal finish in the international event in October with their new recruits.

However, Blitzboks head coach Treu will not be able to boost his team with high profile players who have been left out of the Springboks’ Tri-Nations squad.

‘Our national system doesn’t allow us to call up any player for the big sevens tournaments like the Commonwealth Games because of contract commitments,’ Treu told keo.co.za.

‘Australia and New Zealand have national contracts for their players, so they can call up any player to their national teams. Australia doesn’t have a domestic league as well while New Zealand coaches are willing to release their players for the sevens squad. These teams have always selected some of the country’s best players in past Commonwealth Games, like Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau and Chris Latham.

‘We won’t have that player luxury because of the Currie Cup, so we will be using the players we already have. We are trying to negotaite with unions to release their players, but big names like Lionel Mapoe and Robert Ebersohn won’t be made available and Gio Aplon is currently in the Bok setup. We are trying to get Philip Snyman from the Cheetahs and Fabian Juries for an extended period. Baby Bok Lubabalo Mthembu could be released for us by the Sharks.’

After a dismal World Series title defence this year where the Blitzboks finished sixth on the overall standings and failed to win a tournament, Treu says they will look for success at the Commonwealth Games.

‘We are targeting a medal finish. That’s our ultimate goal, to win a medal for team South Africa,’ said Treu. ‘We haven’t won a medal since I was a player in 2001, so we are determined to break that drought.

‘I will be making a provisional squad of 30 and the players will regroup on 12 July. They will be hungry after a long break after the World Series. We will have a chat with our senior players to discuss what we want to achieve at the event. We will also try and organise a training camp in Argentina and a mini-tournament in Dubai. I will then decide on my final squad in August.’

By Gareth Duncan