South Africa Sevens coach Neil Powell says he feels for the players after their trip to the Madrid Sevens was cancelled. Picture: Ryan Willkisky/BackpagePix
South Africa Sevens coach Neil Powell says he feels for the players after their trip to the Madrid Sevens was cancelled. Picture: Ryan Willkisky/BackpagePix

Blitzboks need to sidestep the ’unpredictable things’ in the lead up to Olympics

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Feb 12, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The Blitzboks will not be participating in the Madrid Sevens tournaments later this month after Spain’s national government extended their Covid-19 related travel ban on a number of countries.

The tournaments at Campo UCM Central would have been the Springbok Sevens side’s first run-out since the Vancouver leg of the World Series in March 2020, where the Blitzboks ended in fourth position. The matches in the Spanish capital were going to form part of the team’s preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

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South Africans are not allowed entry into Spain until March 2, ruling Neil Powell’s team out of the two tournaments to be played on consecutive weekends – from 19-21 and 26-28 February.

The Blitzboks were due to leave for Spain on Wednesday evening as the original travel ban was due to expire on that day, but it was extended this week.

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With another opportunity to gain some much-needed match fitness now taken away, Powell expressed his disappointment.

“I feel for the players, already short on tournament time, as they worked really hard to get into match mode and we were in the final week of those preparations,” said Powell.

“It does show us however, how unpredictable things are all around the world at the moment. We spoke about being flexible leading up to the Olympics and this is living proof of that. We can only control the controllable and there is nothing we can do about this situation.

“I told the players that the most successful team in the Olympics will be the one that can adapt best and not necessarily the one who played the most matches leading up to Tokyo.”

@WynonaLouw

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