In the Hot Seat - Neil Powell answers your questions
November 28, 2013
Every week we give readers of BOKzine the opportunity to ask questions of South African rugby personalities. Simply sign up for our weekly fan newsletter, BOKzine, by clicking here!

Your Question: Hi daar Neil ek wil graag weet wat dink jy is ons sewes span se kanse in Dubai,wat as ons teen kenya te staan kom dink jy nie ons sal ons wedstryd plan verander nie want paul treu was so lank by ons en ken ons spel patrone. Baie dankie vir jou tyd en sterkte met die Toer. Pieter Leendertz

Neil answers:Hallo Pieter. Ons doel is om elke toernooi te wen maar ons weet dat daar nie meer so iets soos 'n maklike wedstryd is nie. Ons het 'n moeilike pool in Samoa, Argentinie en Rusland en weet dat ons na dag een bo moet eindig in ons groep. Wat Keyna aanbetref, fokus ons op ons eie spel patroon en sal dit uitsorteer wanneer ons in daardie situasie kom.

Your Question: Hope you are well. Two questions please.
1.) Sevens to be included in 2016 Olympics are an exiting prospect for all. Only 3 years away are you currently planning with the Olympics in mind?
2.) Off course winning a medal is very important, will you guys look at those who perform well in the 15 man game to bolster the sevens team e.g. Aplon, Kolbe, Sarel Pretoruis etc come to mind. Gustav

Neil answers:Hi Gustav. I'm well, thanks! Although we are planning for 2016, we need to be successful immediately. Before thinking of the Olympic Games itself, we have to focus on qualifying in 2015. The Springbok Sevens Academy is an important part of plan, as well as building relationships with all provinces to allow us to have access to the best available players, both for the HSBC Sevens World Series and the Olympics.

Your Question:Hi Neil, is there also a jersey hand-out ceremony prior to tournaments, similar to the Springboks handing out jerseys prior to test matches? And if so, is there any chance of having a supporter (such as myself ;)) have a chance at handing them out? Could be a cool marketing initiative perhaps. Hennie Steyn

Neil answers:Hi Hennie. We do have a jersey presentation on the day before match day. Generally we invite former Springbok Sevens or Springbok (15s) players to do the handover. I agree that it would be great from a marketing perspective, but I'd prefer another event to be made available to our supporters, rather than the jersey handover ceremony, as this is a really intimate event. I like the way that you're thinking though!

Your Question:It has been confirmed that our Blitzbokke have secured the services such as Cheslin Kolbe and a few others for the up and coming tournaments. How long will these players that are contracted with Super Rugby franchises be available at your disposal? I know getting a core squad together and allowing them to build as a team must be vital to your plans but is this possible? Kurt

Neil answers:Hi Kurt. Cheslin and Sampie are only available for Dubai and PE, but the rest of the non-contracted players will be available for the entire HSBC Sevens World Series. We agree with you that we have to build a core group, but it is important to get Super Rugby players like Cheslin and Sampie into our squads with 2016 in mind, as they can potentially make the Olympic team. Both of them have been in our structures before (Cheslin through the Springbok Sevens Academy) and they both fit in well with our core group and culture.

Your Question:Neil, while your immediate plans are to do well in Dubai this weekend, what are your plans with 2016 in mind? Dave

Neil answers:Hi Dave. We really want to perform well in Dubai and PE, but before we focus on 2016, we have to qualify for the Olympic Games next season. We have a plan and are building towards 2016. The Springbok Sevens Academy, which starts next year, is an important part of that plan as mentioned in an earlier answer.

Your Question:Hi Neil, Good luck with your team. What happened to Puma player JW Bell that was in the world cup group.He is such a brilliant sevens player. Is he part of your plans? Regards, Willie

Neil answers:Hi Willie. JW is in our database and we are following his progress.

Your Question:Hi Neil. Is Cheslin Kolbe the one who is going to make a diffrence since Cornell Hendricks left for 15 men rugby? Jason

Neil answers:Hi Jason. I think its important that the players understand that it is a team effort and we don't rely on just one player to make a difference. We'd like all the players to take responsibility for the performance of the team. It is obviously great to have a player with "X-factor", like Cheslin, in our team though!

Your Question:Neil, a couple of years ago we showed some enterprise in adding tactical kicking a lineout mauls to our game - even winning a tournament or two using these tactics that are rarely seen is sevens. What are the chances of us using some of these "outside the box" this year, and how important is innovation in general in this format? Jason

Neil answers:Hi Jason. Our core focus area is to get our basic rugby fundamentals in place. Once we execute the basics as well as we possibly can, we will be more consistent and more successful. There is definitely lots of room in Sevens for innovation, but I feel as though we should focus on the basics now.

Your Question:Hi Neil, has there ever been an attempt to get Tonderai Chavanga back into the sevens fray? The only IRB tournament he ever played was a couple of years ago when he was still ineligible to play for South Africa. He is by far one of the fastest guys we have and sure any side would like his services. Ivan Deetlefs

Neil answers:Hi Ivan. Tonderai isn't on our radar at the moment, however he was a good Sevens player in his time with the team. Tonderai was very quick, but we have quite a bit of pace in our squad at the moment with Jamba Ulengo, Sampie Mastriet and Seabelo Senatla.

Your Question:Dink jy die feit dat jy n speler was in hierdie span en die opset ken, maak jou taak as afrigter makliker? Was dit moeilik om nou die afrigter van die span te wees van spelers wat saam jou gespeel het en gesag af te dwing? As jy en die keurders n speler kies het hy n keuse om hom nie beskikbaar te stel of is dit watter kode hy verkies? Walter Stander

Neil answers: Walter, aan die een kant is dit maklik, want jy verstaan die kultuur van die groep, die eise wat aan spelers gestel word wanneer jy byvoorbeeld op toer is en hoe van die spelers onder druk reageer. Aan die ander kant van die muntstuk is die feit dat jy besluite moet neem oor daardie spelers se toekoms en sy rol in die span. EK dink uiteindelik gaan dit oor die speler se wil om vir sy land te speel en met daardie wapen op die bors op die veld te draf.

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