Ahead of the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament at Port Elizabeth‘s iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on 13 and 14 December 2014 the newswires are humming, sparking and churning out the good news about Port Elizabeth’s hosting of the event.
See below for a quick round-up of some of the thousands of mentions of Port Elizabeth and the Sevens online.
Radio Australia says:
As the World Rugby Sevens rolls into South Africa, it’s Fiji who tops the standings, two points ahead of South Africa, with Australia a further eight points behind in 3rd, and a point ahead of the champions New Zealand in fourth.
So when the action kicks off in Port Elizabeth tomorrow, the top two have the opportunity to really pull away from the pack going into the Christmas and New Year break.
Pacific Beat’s rugby sevens analyst Nick Jordan says there’s no reason why Fiji won’t keep their momentum at the top of their game.
Boxscore News says:
KENYA Sevens rugby team’s Performance Director and Head Coach, Paul Treu has resigned his job. His last assignment will be guiding the team in the HSBC Sevens World Rugby Series tournament in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday and Sunday.
Treu released the bombshell on Thursday morning by an e-mail message to the Kenya Rugby Union [KRU] chairman, Mwangi Muthee, followed by a letter of resignation by the end of December 2014. After this weekend, however, the team has no assignment until February 6-7 2015 in New Zealand.
Treu stated categorically that it was impossible to continue working with some members of the KRU board. He said they were working towards destroying Kenya rugby.
First, he sent a message to the KRU chairman saying:
“Sorry Chairman, it was never my intention to walk away from you or the team, but your board members are on the war path of destruction.
“It’s a shame, really, and I am very sad not to see [my vision for the team reach the 2016 Olympic Games] but I am grateful for the opportunity and will always be there for you.”
Apparently, Treu had made up his mind to leave and had told the KRU chairman that on Wednesday evening he would inform the players who are already in Port Elizabeth.
“I will speak to Andrew [Amonde the captain] and the team tonight,” he had said, adding: “I will send you a statement that you could release as soon as possible.”
Treu also said he was pleased with aspects of Kenya rugby when he said on the cover of his letter. Addressing the KRU chairman, Treu said:
“I am truly grateful for the opportunity you have given me and our friendship will know no boundaries. You are great leader and I have learnt so much from you. My involvement with KRU won’t stop with this letter and I can assure you of my continuous support. The players are doing ok and I am sure they will improve over time. We will go all the way this weekend.”
And in his ‘Thank yous’ Treu said: ‘To our title Sponsor, Kenya Airways, thank you for your continuous support. You are indeed the ‘Pride of Africa’ and I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me to coach the team.
“To the 40million+ Kenyans, thank you for welcoming me to your beautiful country and giving me the opportunity to work with your coaching staff. I look back on my time in Kenya as a major contributor to my growth as a coach and as a leader.
“Thank you to the clubs for your excellent and tireless put to keep producing quality players with very limited resources. I salute the coaches and their management for making part of the local rugby community.”
Treu also said he would travel to Nairobi if he was required for a Press conference. He said:
“Let me know if you want me to come on Monday. All the best with the [Press] release, my thoughts and prayers are with you,” he concluded.
On receiving Treu’s resignation the KRU chairman said it was a severe blow to Kenya rugby at a critical time and that losing the coach was regrettable.
“We are now faced by headwinds and will no doubt go into a stage of instability. It will be important to focus on how the KRU, Kenya rugby and the nation as a whole will come out of this.
“With grave regrets, first I must thank Paul for the professional manner in which he has conveyed his decision to me. Personally I admire his bravery of venturing into unfamiliar waters; leaving the comforts of an advanced rugby nation such as South Africa. A lot of Kenyans respect and will salute him for that.
“We saw a man determined to succeed, his, his vision, character and discipline was remarkable and should rest assured that there are many who learnt from him. Paul will leave a mark and a foundation on which the country’s Sevens development programme can build on.”
Muthee said he wished the team could put up a strong showing for the last time under Treu in Port Elizabeth.
“Immediately after the team comes from Port Elizabeth we shall embark on finding Paul Treu’s replacement. We thank the South Africa Rugby Union [SARU] for having been instrumental in our acquiring Paul.”
Earlier, the atmosphere was full of Treu’s displeasure that he had been denied a chance to continue uninterrupted, this season; with a squad he had spent a moulding over a whole previous season.
Player contract issues had decimated almost his entire squad and he began the current HSBC Sevens World Series with a squad whose no less than eight players had only played four previous times and several were complete rookies.
The KRU chairman, responding to the goings-on had said: “The big question is how much Kenyans have contributed making work difficult for Paul Treu.
“He came to Kenya as a world class coach; a coach who had won two World Series titles with a South African team he had meticulously built over time. He had won no less than 14 rounds of the World Series. He came to Kenya as a winner and with a plan that, given patience, would no doubt have worked.”
Muthee added: “A coach can only succeed with the full support of all stakeholders. If you have people whose primary occupation is to hound coaches, even if you bring in Gordon Tietjens [of New Zealand, arguably the top Sevens coach in the world, he will not succeed.”
Port Elizabeth – Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown wasn’t being arrogant at all when he said at a pre-tournament press briefing in Port Elizabeth on Thursday that the biggest obstacle to his team doing well in the third leg of the World Series at the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens was themselves.
According to the supersport.com website, anyone who saw the Blitzbokke play in Dubai last week, where they won the tournament with a dominant second day performance in which they conceded only one try, would agree that it is hard to imagine them making an improvement on that performance at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens.
However, Brown hasn’t forgotten the way his team struggled on the first day in Dubai, and knows there is potential for them to conspire against themselves.
“The biggest obstacle to us doing well in this tournament is ourselves,” said Brown.
“We saw last week what we could do and what we are capable of.
“We are the only people who can stop that. It has been mentioned that there was a big change evident from day one to day two of the tournament in Dubai, and that perception is correct.
“But it wasn’t as if we went out on the second day and just decided that because we were playing Argentina in the quarter-finals it was time to fire.
“We made the change from within, by having a good hard look at ourselves, assessing where we were going wrong on the first day, and putting it right.
“We lifted ourselves on day two, we had hunger in our eyes, and a clear vision of what we had to do.
“We got the result. We need to maintain that focus at the weekend.”
Brown admitted that the South Africans may have been caught a bit off-guard by Wales in the pool phase last week.
That was the one disturbing performance from the Blitzbokke, with the Welsh pushing them all the way and being on the attack at the end of a game where Brown’s team sneaked home just 12-5.
“That game should be a learning experience for us in that what we did was fail to take into account where Wales were standing and what was in the game for them.
“They had already lost a game to Canada, and were under pressure to stay in the tournament.
“They had to lose by less than a certain score to proceed to the next round.
“So they came out firing on all cylinders.
“It was like a final to them, which it wasn’t to us, and we were a bit taken aback by the intensity.
“That is something we will have to keep in mind ahead of future first round matches.
“You always need to be aware of what your opponent might be chasing and what is in the game for them.
“We were nearly caught out by the Welsh and we have learned from it.”
Wales are in the South African group again for the home leg, and coach Neil Powell has made it clear that there will be no element of surprise this time.
“We have USA, Kenya and Wales, and as in every other tournament we will approach it one at a time.
“They have a good coach and we expect a physical battle against them. Kenya are also always up for us as they are also from Africa, and we know the Welsh will be up for us again,” said Powell.
Eyewitness News says:
Organisers of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament have guaranteed that the event will not be affected by load shedding.
The two-day tournament takes place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and Sunday.
The Springbok Sevens are the current reigning champions of the event.
Access Management’s Lourens Oberholzer says they’re prepared for just about anything
“The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is a world class facility which has high power generators designed to ensure constant supply of electricity to the stadium in the events of any power outage. As the operators of the stadium we have made provision to ensure successful Nelson Mandela Sevens tournament.”
Oberholzer says they’ve made provision should there be any power cuts.
“We have engaged with local municipality who have guaranteed that the stadium will not be affected by load shedding this weekend.”
She said the municipality has given assurances that it will run a gas turbine for the duration of the event to ensure that 100 percent power is given to the event if an outage occurs.
The Mail and Guardian says:
South Africa won the second leg of the Sevens World Series over the weekend, beating Australia in a one-sided final at Dubai, to edge closer to sealing a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The South Africans over-ran the Australians 33-7 in the men’s final to close the gap on overall points leader Fiji, who finished third after winning the series opener in Australia in October.
After beating New Zealand 28-0 in the semi-finals, the Springboks romped to victory, scoring five tries to one.
Wing Seabelo Senatla scored twice in the final while Kwagga Smith also crossed after bagging a hat-trick in the semis, as the South Africans moved to 37 points, second place in the standings, behind Fiji (39).
“We didn’t play our best in Australia but this was a fantastic event for us,” South African captain Kyle Brown said. “We’ve worked hard on our defence all day and this means a lot to all of us.”
South Africa will host the third round of the series in Port Elizabeth next weekend. There are nine rounds in total for the men with the top four placed teams automatically booking places for the 2016 Rio Olympics, when sevens rugby will be included for the first time.
Australia moved to third place, one point ahead of New Zealand, who finished fourth in Dubai.
The Australians produced an extraordinary comeback just to reach the final, overturning a 19-0 deficit to beat Fiji 29-24 semi-finals.
Nick Malouf scored in the final minute of normal time to level the scores at 24-24 before Greg Jeloudev crossed for the winner in extra-time.
“For us to get to a Cup final was a terrific effort … we showed an incredible amount of character to beat Fiji,” Australia head coach Geraint John said.
New Zealand won the women’s final with another remarkable comeback against Australia on Friday.
Sarah Goss, playing with a broken finger, sealed the victory with a try in the last minute as the New Zealanders came from 17-0 behind to win 19-17.
Dubai was the first round of the women’s series, which also doubles as an Olympic qualifier. The next round is in Brazil in February.
The Port Elizabeth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series takes place this weekend, and Blitzbokke captain Kyle Brown will be giving you the inside track right here on supersport.com.
Brown, 27, debuted for his country in the seven-man code in 2008 and has developed into a versatile performer and leader of men. His hard tackling and communication skills are hallmarks of his game.
The former UCT student began his professional playing career in the 15-man discipline with Boland’s age-group sides. Brown would later represent Western Province in the Absa under-21 competition.
The Commonwealth Games gold medalist, who returned from injury in Dubai, will be determined to lead the Blitzbokke to consecutive titles at the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in South Africa.
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