BlitzBoks set sights on 2020 Olympics
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: South Africa Sevens coach Neil Powell has set his team a goal of becoming the number one team in the world leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The BlitzBoks claimed Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics with 54-14 over Japansafter their dream of winning a gold medal was shattered with a 5-7 defeat to Great Britain in the semifinals of the Sevens tournament.
Fiji went on to win their first-ever gold medal at the Olympic Games with a 43-7 victory over Great Britain in the gold medal match.
Fiji were the form team heading into this year's Olympic games after winning the 2015/2016 Sevens World Series tournament, while the BlitzBoks finished in second position on the final Sevens World Series standings.
With the 2016/2017 Series fast approaching and the first tournament taking place in Dubai in the first week of December, Powell knows the importance of establishing the BlitzBoks as the number one team in the world over the next four years, to give them confidence and belief heading into the 2020 Olympic Games.
"I think we definitely want to improve on our performances over the last three years," said Powell.
"Second [on the World Series standings] in the last three years is definitely not good enough for us and not good enough for the public. Hopefully we can take that one more step and hopefully become the number one team in the world in the World Series next season. But obviously in saying that, it's not just going to happen," explained Powell.
Powell added that he is still waiting for the likes of Albertus Smith and Werner Kok to return to the team for pre-season training before he lays out his planning to the players on how he expects the team to go about their mission of becoming the world's best.
"We will still have our goals set for this season when we have everybody back. We are still waiting for Kwagga and Werner to get back after their break after the Currie Cup and then we will see what we can do and how we are going to go about on trying to be that number one team in the world.
"There is obviously the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup in 2018 before we get to the Olympics in 2020, so plans are already in place to develop the youngsters and identifying the follow-up players for the guys that we think will not make it through to 2020," Powell added.
By Josh Isaacson