Bok Sevens coach searching for an edge

Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu is forever looking for the small things which can make a difference – and this time he has roped in Australian touch rugby specialist Jason Stanton to try and turn his team’s fortunes around.

The defending IRB Sevens World Series champions could do no better than a Plate win and two Plate final losses this season – and to try and make up for the loss of 14 of last year’s 17 players to Super 14 call-ups and injuries, Treu has investigated other avenues. This time he turned to Stanton.

“We’ve had a very good relationship with the Australian touch guys since 2007, when they played the (Touch Rugby) World Cup in Stellenbosch,” said Treu on his website.

“What Australia have achieved is to dominate Touch Rugby over the past 12 years and Jason has been a key part of that as a player.

“He was also the coach of the Wallaroos team that won the first Women’s World Cup in Sevens last year and I think he’s a quality coach who can bring something else to our set-up.

“It’s important for us to keep bringing quality people into our system. It can be good to get a different voice in the team.”

So far, Stanton’s Sevens career is brief but well decorated and there’s no question that he possesses a winning mentality. Three times a World Cup-winner as a player and once as a coach are enviable bullet points to have on any CV.

Stanton’s coaching emphasis is very much on analysing the opposition and bending the playbook to fit the players he is working with in any one squad.

“I’m a bit of a clown and try and get them to enjoy themselves.

Hopefully focusing on some new techniques shifts the focus a bit. I always like to focus on the players that we have, rather than the players that are missing, and create a game plan and a structure based on those.

“This year it’s a younger set of players so we need to look more at support play and ‘team’, and that fits in with their culture very well, they’re very professional and have a positive team culture so it’s been enjoyable.”

Las Vegas was proof of some progress. This weekend, it is the Adelaide title – where the Boks have won two years running – they have to defend. And next weekend, of course, there is the prestigious Hong Kong title to play for and win, something the Boks have been striving for unsuccessfully until now.

Even with the help of Stanton and the recent input of SA scrumming guru, former World Cup winning prop Balie Swart, the Bok greenhorns might be found to be just a year or so behind their next breakthrough.

The talent is there, and also the youth for a long period of success if the team isn’t again plucked by Super 14 coaches.

For now, Treu is making sure they have the best help from various sources.

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