IF ever there was a sign that Sevens Rugby has evolved into its own form of specialised sport, this year’s Rugby World Cup in Moscow is testament to that.
The normal influx of fifteens players into the big tournaments such as the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and others hasn’t happened in the same way as in previous years, with teams rather sticking to their Sevens specialists that have done the duty for them over the International Rugby Board Sevens season.
It is a strange anomaly which has taken centre stage in Moscow as teams vie for the last World Cup crown before the Olympics takes over as the jewel in the Sevens calendar.
The Springbok Sevens are perhaps one team who have some 15s players, but in essence all of them played the shortened version of the game before they moved up to 15s.
It is also an aspect that has surprised South African captain Kyle Brown, who told SuperSport.com that it was probably the most interesting aspect of arriving in the Russian city.
“I’m pretty surprised that there haven’t been more 15s players brought in for the tournament,” Brown told SuperSport.com .
“What teams seem to have done is stuck to the guns they know and it’s impressive out there. We know the enemies out there and the opposition.”
But to know the opposition is one thing, to win is another and this is why the “Blitzbokke” know all too well they need to hone their game plan. The final touches began on Tuesday with a defensive practice while Wednesday evening will see them hone their plan to finer details.
The arrival of Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla from the Junior Springboks has added to this excitement.
“There is a lot of excitement in the squad. Cheslin and Seabelo arrived and we’re glad to have them here. Before that it was a bit fragmented,” Brown said.
“We were in Johannesburg last week, there were a lot of sideshows, a lot was happening so it was a pleasure to just land here and focus on one thing and leave that all behind.”