Final push for Bok Sevens side

With the Springbok Sevens squad leaving for the UK in five days' time for the final two tournaments in the 2008-09 IRB Sevens World Series, coach Paul Treu is holding thumbs that Gio Aplon will be able to play in London and Twickenham.

With the Springbok Sevens squad leaving for the UK in five days' time for the final two tournaments in the 2008-09 IRB Sevens World Series, coach Paul Treu is holding thumbs that Gio Aplon will be able to play in London and Twickenham.

The two tournaments are of the utmost importance and, barring a total disaster in both, the Springboks should clinch their first IRB Sevens Series title.

Aplon has started training with the Springboks weeks ago after a knee injury at the World Cup tournament in mid-March, but Treu is hopeful that the playmaker will be fit in time.

"We also had good news with Philip Snyman back at training. I can definitely consider him for the last two tournaments - but we also have the bad news that Lionel Mapoe and Paul Delport are virtually certain to miss the trip.

"However, I'm generally happy with the guys, especially considering that we last played a month ago in Adelaide. The players had a decent break and also the recent long weekend off and look sharp.

"We've had training matches against a team from the Western Province Institute last Thursday and on Tuesday and have another run against them this Thursday."

Treu is confident that he will be able to select a good squad despite the injuries - in itself proof of the depth that the group training at Stellenbosch has brought about.

Always looking for the opportunity to stay ahead of the opposition, Treu has also called on input from Mike van der Hofstadt, a business coach from Belgium.

He spoke to the players on Monday on what it takes to go from effectiveness to excellence, the make-up of a high-performance team and how to stay focused for longer.

The Springboks lead England by 28 points in the World Series and another good performance at Twickenham in London on May 23-24 will edge the team closer to their first ever Series title.

The team has won tournament titles in Dubai, George and Adelaide and also suffered a narrow loss to Fiji in the final of the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens.

The Springboks need 13 points from the last two tournaments, which means they need to reach the semifinals in the one tournament and the quarters in the other to take the Series spoils.

The Edinburgh tournament is on May 30-31. - Sapa

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