South Africa wants to close Sevens season on a high
irb.com and James Mortimer 31 Jul 2013 Getty Images
Rugby Sevens tournament at the World Games in Cali, Colombia, on 1-2 August.
The eight nations set to compete at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium are World Series core teams Argentina, Canada, France and South Africa as well as Asian champions Hong
Kong, Olympic hosts Brazil, tournament hosts Colombia and the Teros of Uruguay.
"It's extremely important to us as a management team because this is part of our pathway to the Commonwealth Games next July and also building for the (Olympic) qualifying season in 2014/2015," said South Africa's head coach in Cali, Vuyo Zangqa.
The 2013 edition is the first time that the World Games have been staged in South America, and the last featuring Rugby Sevens now that the sport has joined the Olympic family for Rio 2016.
"It's also all about strengthening our relationship with SASCOC, our local Olympic Committee, because we know they will also play a vital role in our set-up going forward to the Olympics in 2016," added Zangqa.
"Being a part of 'Team South Africa' changes all the dynamics because we are now part of a much bigger organisation in terms of athletes.
"It's also good to see how other codes prepare for their events and how we as a team fit into a bigger set-up, rather than just the HSBC Sevens World Series."
Zangqa was a key part of South Africa's World Series-winning squad in the 2008/09 season and has been promoted from assistant to head coach for the key event in Paul Treu's absence. It is a challenge he is relishing.
"It's truly an honour, exciting and a humbling experience for me to be chosen by SARU to lead this team to the World Games.
"I will continue to strive to be the best at what I do and work hard to make sure that I fill coach Paul’s (Treu) shoes with dignity. Being able to work with Neil Powell for the first time as a coaching team is also an honour and a great experience."
Zangqa was a fine player and he has proved an inspirational assistant to Treu on the World Series for the past couple of seasons. Clearly, he has also picked up his mentor's knack of dealing with the media. The issue of the gold medal favourites tag was evaded with a deftness of touches.
"That's just the perception of the media and we don’t see ourselves as favourites. We just want to focus on our preparation and will take each game as it comes. We also talk about doing the right things all the time so that's our focus for all our matches at the World Games.
"Here in Cali we are looking to build depth for our squad for next season and, most importantly, to do well for Team South Africa."
World Games, Cali Colombia - Rugby Sevens competition 1-2 August