Neil Powell will have the next couple of weeks to make his decision on who to select for his Olympic Games squad. The world class coach says attitude as well as driving factor in his decisions for the historic games.
Plans are underway for the tournament Blitzboks and SA Rugby Sevens Academy squad will be playing against Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe on consecutive weekends at Markotter Stadium next month, which Powell confirmed will be used as trials for the Olympic hopefuls.
“We are extremely grateful for these tournaments, organized by Rugby Africa, to give ourselves and Kenya another opportunity to prep for the games and hand Uganda and Zimbabwe playing time as they prepare for the repechage tournament to the Olympics that will take place in Monaco in June,” said Powell in an interview.
“We missed playing in Madrid and Dubai as originally planned due to travel restrictions, but did have matches against the SAS Sevens Academy and the SA All Stars Academy from Pretoria.
“While we appreciated that, we need some international opposition as well, to encounter as many different playing styles from opposing teams, and these three will offer that.”
“Any players who are not involved in the two tournaments, will not be considered for the Olympics,” said Powell.
“We hoped to have some players from outside the current squad available for this training block, but if they are not here to play, they will not be considered for selection.
“We are only a couple of months away from the Games and in order for me to select the best squad, I need to be aware of their effort and commitment in training and match play.
“The next couple of weeks of this training block will be testing and I hope everyone in the squad will show why I have to pick them to go to Tokyo. I have told the players that I will be looking at attitude as well as form and how they train will be as important as how they play when given the opportunity,” added Powell.
“I am pleased to get another crack at it. There are a couple of very capable squad members that are also keen to go, so this will be a fight till the very last,” the sweeper with the decorated left foot smiled.
“I would really like to add playing in the Olympics to my career highlights, so I am ready to give it one more go.”
“This is almost an unexpected opportunity to make the squad considered it is five years later in my career,” said Dry.
“I am very keen to represent my country at the Games, so will do my utmost to prove to the coach that I will be a worthy inclusion. We will be working hard as a group to be successful, but as coach Neil said, it will also be on the individual to show the necessary commitment and drive to make the final squad.”