Despite a certain degree of disruption in their preparations, University of Johannesburg coach Patrick Ross-Allen says their planning is on track for the Varsity Sevens rugby tournament next month.
UJ will be lining up with nine other institutions in a bid to take the honours, aware that a tough challenge lies ahead in Durban from December 1 to 3.
Ross-Allen said academic commitments had affected their build-up slightly, but they were still ready to challenge for the title.
“The guys have a great attitude and we had a useful training session against the North-West University,” he said.
“I definitely think we will be competitive. The talent we have is amazing and we have created an environment that augurs well for the weekend.
“I’m really thankful as coach to have such a good group of players working together to make this dream possible.”
While they have the title in their sights, Ross-Allen said they would take it a game at a time.
“If we can focus on the small things, the big things will take care of themselves,” he said.
“Obviously our main aim is to win the tournament but there are nine other sides who all have the same thought, so it’s best not to look too far ahead.”
Allen said he was happy they had managed to maintain continuity from last year.
“Having the same core of players helps with experience and leadership, so we are lucky in that respect.”
He added that the interest in sevens rugby at varsity level remained high, which made his job much easier.
“Sevens is a growing sport and there is a huge hunger, in Johannesburg specially, for more sevens tournaments that could help us in our preparations.”
Allen acknowledged it was difficult to pinpoint any outright title contenders, but said champions Stellenbosch University, NWU-Pukke and Pretoria University would always be among the favourites.