Powell wants a strong finish

Date published: May 10 2016

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Springbok Sevens head coach Neil Powell has urged his team to make the most of the opportunities presented to them in the two remaining Sevens Series tournaments.

The Blitzboks arrived in France on Monday for the Paris Sevens that will be played this weekend after which they will travel to London for the tenth and final tournament of the 2015/16 series at Twickenham.

Powell feels that his players producing the goods can reap other rewards as well.

"It is a difficult two weeks coming up," said Powell in an official SA Rugby press release.

"It is the last two tournaments of a long season and in the past we did not perform to expectation or potential in those. 

"Then the focus will shift to the Olympic Games just after that, so you want to finish the series with good performances.

"Yes, we have learned from the slump in those tournaments in the past where we could not sustain our effort. I think fatigue was one of the issues we picked up."

The former South African Sevens star, who played in 32 tournaments for his country, believes that these next two tournaments is vital for their Olympic preparation.  

"So this year with the rotational system we tried to give guys some rest during the series.

"The guys have two opportunities here, in that they can win the series, but also push hard for a spot in the final Olympic squad. 

"I am expecting the players to really push hard this week. We have seen a team like New Zealand travelling with a strong squad of 16 players to the last two tournaments, which will probably be the like final trials for the Olympics and we are not much different."

Powell expects the team to remain focussed on what they can control in Paris.

"Often, with new tournaments such as this one, one finds little things that happen off the field that tend to impact on the performances on the field. 

"We still have a lot to achieve in this tournament though, so the challenge will be not to allow those uncontrollables to throw us off our game and mission."

The Springbok Sevens will face England in Pool C on Friday and will play Brazil and Australia on Saturday.

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