South Africa’s Sevens rugby team, the Blitzboks, powered their way to victory in the 2016-17 World Sevens Series, winning five of the 10 tournament while Seabelo Senatla was named as the world’s best player.
In the latest episode of the Power of Sport podcast, Jean Smyth sits down with coach Neil Powell, captain Philip Snyman & former skipper Kyle Brown at their base in Stellenbosch to discuss the reasons for their success.
The team is hailed across South Africa; not just for their achievements on the field but also for their diversity and the subsequent role they play in social cohesion. Brown told the Power of Sport that those that think they’ve suddenly hit on a winning formula haven’t paid close enough attention to their rise.
“Everybody wants to talk to us about our team culture, (as if it’s) something that just happened overnight and it just formed, and it was great; which is a load of nonsense. It didn’t just happen overnight and it didn’t just happen this season. Now everybody wants to figure out how do we emulate what they’re doing to make our players look as happy as our guys look on the field.
“In all honesty, we start with a good bunch of people, we help them enjoy themselves on the field and we make sure that they’re hungry when they get onto the field.”
While captain Philip Snyman puts the recent success of the team down to the fact that they’re not afraid of publicly stating their ambitions.
“Whenever we have a jersey presentation the coach always says: “listen, that’s not your jersey, you’re just borrowing that jersey for this tournament”. Neil Powell might go, Kyle and myself might go and everybody (currently) could leave the system but the Springbok Sevens will live forever and that’s the mentality.
“They want to leave the Springbok Sevens jersey and the brand in a better space and I think that’s the reason for our success, everyone wants to leave a legacy in that number.”
Not only did we sit down for a serious discussion but Brown, Powell and Snyman had the opportunity to play Blitz on one another – look out for the short video on Twitter and Facebook.
Also in this episode, the series of sporting-themed Mercedes-Benz breakfasts at dealerships across the country have come to an end and been a huge success. We travel to Cape Town ahead of the Springboks clash against the All Blacks to find out if there’s still life in one of rugby’s greatest rivalries.
Indian cricket star Yuvraj Singh becomes a Laureus Ambassador and tells us what sort of impact he’ll be looking to make with his new role.
And, we hear from Luvo Manyonga, who describes his journey from drug addiction to the summit of the athletics world. The world long jump champion and Olympic silver medalist along with previous guests in this series, The Longest Hole, can be voted for in the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year.
To download the full episode in iTunes: Full Podcast on iTunes
Also available on Omny Radio: Podcast on Omny