It has been an interesting few weeks for us at the Bok camp. Some highs, some lows and some really outrageous times. As we progress into our HSBC Sevens World Series campaign, there are many things to look forward to as we move into a new era under coach Neil Powell.
After a hectic change of events, our first tournament in Australia brought a complete set of new challenges and curve balls. As we headed off on a misty Monday morning from Cape Town a 1 hour delay would change our whole flight plan. A storm forced an emergency landing at a military base in Waterkloof.
Besides the howling of the storm outside the screams from Cornal Hendricks holding on to two elderly women vigorously reassured the rest of team he would not need the window seat ever again.
The delay forced us to miss our flight to Australia. Management decided it would be best for us to leave the Wednesday evening.
With any setback there is always a positive to find, like training at one of South Africa’s most iconic stadiums, none other than Ellis Park in Johannesburg. This home ground really made our stay worth it. Walking over the area where legend Joel Stansky kicked the winning points in the 1995 Rugby World cup made my day and that alone was worth the stay.
On Friday morning 01:00am we finally arrived at our hotel in the wonderful surfer’s paradise of Gold Coast. The guys were all too excited to sleep, so the prankster Frankie Horne was at his best chartering bags back to the ground floor in a game he calls fetch. We had arrived.
We were in a tough pool with France, Spain and England. The boys really did well to win three from three. Although constantly building as a team the boys really made a mental step up to really dominate the opening games.
After some much needed rest the boys were up and ready to take on Wales which would be a tough yet exciting finish to an epic quarterfinal. A break in the last minute by Steven Hunt secured a semi-final spot. With an Australia – South Africa clash it was always going to be epic semi and so it was….
With scores tied, it lead to two halves of extra time and with a few calls going the other way, Australia came out as victors. We really showed character playing 4 minutes with only 6 men.
Our third place playoff game against England was a poor performance from our side. We could use jetlag and general fatigue as excuses, but the truth is that we were just not up to scratch. In the same breath we take the positives from the tournament and look forward to some exciting weeks ahead of us preparing for the Dubai Sevens and Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens respectively.