A 14-hour flight between two continents normally means a good meal, a good movie and a good sleep for regular international travellers, but the Springbok Sevens squad did not do the usual things when they travelled from Singapore to Vancouver this week.
But then, it was not normal circumstances on a chartered flight that transported the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series participants between the fifth and sixth stops of the global tour, as the Blitzboks boarded the airplane with three consecutive losses fresh in their minds.
So instead of the movie, a review of those matches was on the menu for the team, and according to JC Pretorius, they used it to their benefit.
“The long flight turned out to be very productive as it gave us time to have a good look at ourselves,” said Pretorius.
“The reviews made it clear that we did not execute well enough in Singapore and the implementation of our roles and responsibilities were not looked after.”
The disappointment felt by their supporters was also felt by the players, who pride themselves on playing for their country on the world stage.
“It was a reminder of what we play for and what the badge stands for. We have massive respect for the badge, but our performances did not reflect that,” Pretorius said.
Pretorius also remembered the last time the Blitzboks felt this way.
“I can recall that in 2019, we finished eighth in Las Vegas and the next weekend, we won here in Vancouver,” he said.
“So, with reflection and time to work on this, we will be competitive again this weekend. Tactically we did not execute and that is something we can fix.”
Vancouver Sevens, Blitzboks pool schedule (SA times)
Saturday, 16 April:
8.15pm: vs Spain
11.26pm: vs Canada
Sunday, 17 April:
3.33 am: vs Australia