The South African national Sevens team, the Blitz Boks, landed in Potchefstroom on Tuesday afternoon and will train here until Sunday in preparation for the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
Paul Treu’s team are accommodated in NWU Puk’s Sports Village and will refine their skills on the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds.
The Blitz Boks in sociable mood at their arrival at Sports Village.
The Blitz Boks recently won their first Sevens World Championship trophy in almost two years in the USA’s gambling mecca, Las Vegas, by beating Fiji 24-14.
The Blitz Boks were crowned world champions in 2009, but have ever since not been firing on all cylinders.
Las Vegas can indeed be the turning point to get the Blitz Boks their first Hong Kong crown.
During a recent visit to NWU Puk, Treu expressed his praise for the University’s facilities and joked that if the Puk could have worked for the victorious Spaniards, it could probably hold the same luck for his team.
• It is not the first time for Johan Duvenhage, NWU Puk head of Non-hostel and Guest Accommodation, to receive this compliment.
Johan Duvenhage, head of Non-hostels and Guest Accommodation on NWU Puk.
The Argentinian Vodacom Cup team, the Pampas, said exactly the same thing at their arrival.
English County cricket teams, international athletes as well as the world’s foremost junior tennis players, women’s cricket teams and many more, have been put up at the Sports Village.
And maybe, also the Springboks later this year …
“It all started with the Spanish soccer team. It was a great moment for us. The Sports Village was then just completed, and we started with the Spaniards in the World Cup.
“After winning the World Cup, they told us their success had also depended on where they stayed and how they were treated.
“For us, this was a huge compliment,” Duvenhage said. Put differently, most decidedly a successful initiation.
Like the Spaniards, the Argentinians have already climbed into the harts of the Sports Village team.
“They already feel like our team and we stand steadfast behind them.
“The feedback we receive from the Pampas is very good. The treatment they receive here is better than that in their own country.
“This is the standard we have set, and it is the standard we will maintain. Here, we try to make is as homely as possible for everyone.
“It is nice for us to see that the guests enjoy themselves so much here, because we do not want their visit to be a once-off one. We wish to build long-term relationships with them.”
According to Duvenhage, approximately 90% of the Sports Village’s occupation is by sports groups, although the Village is also open to the public.
Time for taking a breath is limited, but Duvenhage would not want it to be any different.
“I enjoy my work tremendously, every day presents something new. What is nicest is to have got the Sports Village from the ground and now, after a year, to look back and see what a great success it is.”
• Report by Bertie Jacobs.