With this year’s Varsity Sevens tournament nearly upon us, Kovsies will be relying on the commitment and the fighting spirit of their players to reach play-offs once again.
Unlike some other teams, the Bloem side did not have the luxury of playing in pre-season tournaments this year. However, it something that does not concern head coach Erick Colyn.
“It is not like at Maties where they have a Sevens group training and playing in a lot of tournaments. There is actually no tournaments this time of year in the Free State for Sevens. It doesn’t even matter if we had a team because it would not be possible to play any games,” Colyn told varsitysportssa.com.
“It worked for us in previous years when we did not have tournaments to play in before Varsity Sevens but we actually did well in the previous tournament. If the basics is good, the guys understand the game, defence is good and we have a lot of speed I think you can do good. Sevens is a different sport but if you have quality players it should be easy.”
Colyn, who played in the inaugural Varsity Sevens tournaments in Plettenberg Bay and Margate back in 2012, has a wealth of Sevens experience at Varsity level and knows the type of players and performances the team can produce.
“There is usually a group of quality players with a lot of skill and speed, but I think the main thing that is difference with the Sevens is the spirit that is in the team and the feeling the guys have for the jersey and for each other. I think in Sevens you can’t hide in the game and you will get exposed if you not 100 percent committed.
“Commitment and the spirit amongst the guys is what makes this team special every year. Not so much the training or the coaching, but the quality players and the attitude that they have when they arrive at a tournament,” he said.
While their attitude towards the game cannot be questioned, preparations are in a bit of a stumbling block with player availability with the university having three teams playing in three different finals over the next week.
“In last year’s USSA tournament we got together a nice group of players and we trained a lot, but now with the Shimlas, the Young Guns team and the Koshuis side (Vishuis)being in finals it is difficult to get the players to train with the Sevens team as well.
“We probably not prepared enough. After the final we can probably get a few Shimlas guys as well, which would probably make things easier and guys who have played before,” he said.
The few Shimlas’ players that Colyn has in mind includes some of the top performers in the Varsity Cup, with the backs in particular grabbing his attention.
“It is difficult to say, we first have to look at the injuries that might happen in the final. There is definitely a few guys that will stand a good chance.
“I think if AJ Coertzen is not playing, he will be assistant coach for the Sevens. Tertius Kruger the inside centre, if he is fit, will definitely be playing and also the wings like Vuyani Maqina will definitely be candidates,” said Colyn.
The young coach will also be banking on the Shimlas winning culture to filter down into his team and in doing so bring a sense of optimism heading into the upcoming event.
“There is a nice culture going here at the Shimlas, playing winning rugby and playing with their hearts on their sleeves. It would be nice if those players will bring their confidence from the Varsity Cup.
“We definitely going to pick a strong team and use as many of the Shimlas guys as we can,” Colyn added.