The Blitzbokke’s defeat to Samoa in the Cup quarterfinal of the Paris Sevens tournament last week might turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
While the defeat all but secured the series title for Fiji, coach Neil Powell believes the timing of it – with only one more tournament in London this week to go before the Olympic Games – will serve as a wake-up call to his team as they can’t let their guard down for one moment if they want to win gold in Rio.
Powell explains: “I’m disappointed in that game against Samoa, but it was a good comeback from the guys to beat New Zealand and then also beating Australia [in the Plate final] for the second time.
“It comes to show that if you’re not up for a game you can find yourself in trouble, especially in a knockout stage and that can determine your whole tournament.”
Powell adds: “It’s a really important lesson for us to learn, especially for the guys that are in our system for the first time – Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba and even Francois Hougaard.
“It’s hopefully an experience we will take forward next week and to the Olympics.
“The loss against Samoa may not be the worst thing in the world – it’s one that we need to remember when we’re going to the Olympics.”
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Blitzbokke as Powell admits there were some positives to have come out of the tournament.
He says: “For us this week there were few guys that put up their hands, young [players] and senior guys.
“It’s great to see how the guys are fighting for the spot in the Olympics.”
Captain Philip Snyman adds: “At some stages [during the tournament] we played fantastic rugby.
“But it showed once again that there are no easy sides on this circuit, you have to fight for everything out there. Hopefully we can bounce back in England.”