South Africa boss tells 7DAYS about the hurt of last year’s early exit…
Paul Treu may have won all there is to in sevens rugby, but the South Africa coach won’t sleep easy until he atones for last year’s Dubai disaster.
Perennial title contenders at The Sevens under Treu’s watch, the 2009 IRB World Series champions were stunned by France in the quarter-finals before losing a consolation Plate Final to Australia.
But while most coaches would simply brush off that poor display as a bad day at the office, most coaches aren’t Treu.
The 41-year-old former sevens star, who has coached the Blitzbokke to two desert crowns, agonised over that performance ever since and is determined to set the record straight when the sevens roadshow returns to Dubai next month.
“There are a few games in my career as a coach that I’ll never forget,” Treu said. “Firstly the good moments and winning in Dubai with Chester Williams in 2003 and then we won it in 2006 and again in 2008.
“But last year we lost to France in the quarter-final and that’s still hurting. Every one of those losses is in the back of your mind like it was yesterday so there’s definitely motivation there.”
Despite losing to Fiji in the semis of the World Series opener on the Gold Coast earlier this month, Treu was more than pleased with the form of his squad, rating them as “the better team at the tournament”.
But he’d do well to not get ahead of himself for Dubai given South Africa have been dumped alongside heavyweights Samoa, double defending champions England and Portugal in Pool C.
It’s a group that could see them fail to match even last year’s disappointing result, but the coach is relishing the challenge that awaits.
“I love it. That’s why I play this game,” he said.
“Every single game should be a crunch game. I’d prefer that every time we play it’s against New Zealand or Samoa because this is what the game’s about. “People don’t play to come and spend time and fly from all over the world to come and watch a game if there’s nothing in it.
“This is it, this is the big stage and we look forward to the challenge.” Victory in Dubai would put Treu and Co in the box seat to take the early ascendency in the eight-leg campaign given the series moves to their home turf of Port Elizabeth the following week.
And on the prospect of capturing another overall crown, Treu said: “We want to go all the way this season.
“We don’t train this hard, we don’t put this much effort and time and spend money for this to be a failure.”