7 December 2017

South Africa: Is Sevens Workload Becoming an Issue?

2018 is a big year on the Sevens calendar, particularly for those nations who will be taking part in the Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.

In addition to the usual 10-tournament World Rugby Sevens Series that runs through until June 10 next year, there is also the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament that will be hosted in San Francisco from July 20-22.

Then there is also the Commonwealth Games, which takes place in mid-April where almost all of the big nations in Sevens rugby will be taking part.

The Blitzboks are the defending gold medalists at the Commonwealth Games having won the tournament in Glasgow four years ago, but their last World Cup campaign, also in 2013, was cut short by a 12-10 quarter-final loss to Fiji.

Workload is often an issue that arises when discussing the XV-man game, with Super Rugby, Currie Cup and international commitments making for a long season, but it is not often mentioned when discussing Sevens.

But, speaking to media at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday ahead of this weekend's Cape Town Sevens, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux confirmed that workload had formed part of World Rugby discussions this year.

The Blitzboks, in particular, took the decision prior to the current Sevens season to make a number of their players available for Currie Cup and PRO14 duty, while the likes of Seabelo Senatla, Werner Kok and Kwagga Smith are actively seeking careers in XV-man rugby.

"There are some discussions going on in terms of player welfare," said Roux.

"10 tournaments is a lot of tournaments. They (the players) are pretty broken by the end of the ninth and 10th tournaments.

"This year we have still got Commonwealth Games and a World Cup Sevens and that's a heavy load on any player.

"In the end, it's about their bodies and minds and they do need rest for that."

Exactly how the Blitzboks prioritise chasing three major pieces of silverware in 2018 remains to be seen, but they are undoubtedly the form side on the circuit and will be backing themselves to challenge for honours on all fronts.

Source: Sport24

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