Auntie Avril Fillies got hold of Springboks Sevens Physio, Hugh Everson who will reach the milestone of 100 World Series tournaments.
He will only become the second Physio to do so after William Koong from Fiji.
Avril – How do you feel about this milestone?
Hugh – Reaching 100 World Series tournaments is a huge milestone for me. To my knowledge I am only the second physiotherapist to achieve this milestone. The only other person to have achieved this is William Koong of Fiji.
Avril – If you look back, which tournament was outstanding and why
Hugh – There are a few tournaments that are memorable, but the most memorable tournament for me was in PE 2013, when Madiba passed away and the moment of silence observed in honour of our remarkable leader. We eventually went on to win the tournament, which was quite an emotional moment.
Avril – Which city on the circuit do you not mind visiting every time and why
Hugh – Hong Kong is definitely my favourite in terms of the atmosphere in the Stadium, but also for shopping for electronics.
Avril – What are the most common injuries in the team
Hugh – Common injuries in Sevens Rugby would include soft tissue contusions, ankle sprains, knee and shoulder injuries.
Avril – You’ve seen some of the players grow in every tournament, which player surprises you with his resilience
Hugh – Branco du Preez is certainly a special player. Some of the bigger opponents tend to underestimate him due to his size, but when they come into his defensive channel they soon realise that this “Little Guy” packs a mean punch.
Avril – You are from Kimberley, when did you move to Cape Town
Hugh – Yes I am from Kimberley and really proud to be a “product” of Kimberley. I moved to Cape Town in February 2007 and started a Private Practice at Milnerton Medi Clinic.
Avril – How did you land by the Blitsies and would you trade your job for anything
Hugh– I was involved with the Springbok U19 and SA Schools teams between the period 2002 to 2007. In October 2007, Paul True Springbok Sevens coach at the time recruited me to join the Blitzboks.
I am very blessed to have the job that I have. Many people would love to be able to do what I do for a living and still travel the world.
Avril – When the team is not playing what are you doing in your off days
Hugh – On my off days, I try to spend time in my Private Practice and spend time with my son.
Avril – What are your hobbies
Hugh – I love doing gardening and DIY around the house.
Avril – What is still on your bucket list
Hugh – Definitely to take my son to Disney Land in the USA
Avril – When you started as the physio Sevens was not the game that everyone supported, what do you think changed the rugby public’s mind
Hugh – Over the years the profile of Sevens Rugby has been significantly elevated. In South Africa, I think a large reason for this is the media and also our sponsorship partners who contracted David van der Sandt to accompany the team wherever we go.
David’s work behind the scenes to get Sevens footage on the various news channels as well as Supersport has definitely raised awareness amongst the public.
Ultimately I think that it is the brand of rugby played by our Springbok Sevens team and the success achieved over the years.
Avril – How do you juggle being a husband, father and the physio/father of the Blitsies
Hugh – Travelling with the team has also come with many personal sacrifices, especially missing family time, school events of my son, birthdays, funerals, etc.
Many of our players start out in our system as youngsters directly from school and I believe that it is our duty to guide these young men to become the best people that they can be on and off the field of play.
Avril – Describe your relationship with the players and other management
Hugh – At the Sevens we worked hard, but make sure that there is enough time for fun too. We have a team with many pranksters and one always has to be streetwise around the guys.
Players and management spend a large part of the year together and over the years we have really built strong bonds between management and players.
It is important to recognise that we are not only dealing with athletes, but as a whole person who has a life apart from rugby.
Avril – You’ve been part of three World Championships, which one was the hardest fought for
Hugh – The 2017/2018 season was really the toughest. We had a significant amount of long term injuries to senior players and we had to tap into our resources and blood some of our youngsters who really performed well. It was a battle right up to our last match of the World Series.
Avril – Name the coaches that you worked under
Hugh – Paul True and Neil Powell (SA Sevens), Oersen Gorgonzola (SA U19), Eugene Elloff (SA U19), Kobus van der Merwe (Griquas), Gysie Pienaar (Griquas)
Avril – Your milestone is only in December, are you looking forward to it, will the team celebrate it separately or don’t you know yet
Hugh – Yes, I am excited about this achievement. I have been involved with SARU teams for the past 16 years. I’m sure the guys will plan something special, even if it just in house.
Avril – Who is Hugh when he is not the physio of the Blitsies
Hugh – Well, I’m a son of Kimberley who was fortunate enough to get opportunities who many only dream of.
Whenever I meet up with people from my home town they are always proud of me and my achievements as though they were my parents, and rightfully so.
Many of the people of Kimberley had a role to play in my development into the person that I have become. I grew up in a community where there was a culture of “Your Child is My Child”.
I try my best to be an inspiration to youngsters, to show them that through hard work and dedication and getting an opportunity, one can make your dreams a reality.
The most important aspect in my life is my family.
Avril – Funny stuff that happened in the 100 tournaments
Hugh – The first year that we won the tournament in Las Vegas and 9 of us missed our flights, due to delays at the check in. It was an eventful morning, but as the saying goes “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!!) Needless to say, we all had some explain to do when we finally arrived home.
Avril – Why is the team a massive draw card at tournaments and well liked by the fans, any reasons
Hugh – We have supporters all over the world and it is largely due to the brand of rugby that the team plays, but more importantly it is due to the type of people that our players are.
Our players are always humble and accessible to the fans and realise that the fans are the people who give them a platform to display their talents.
Avril – What role does Tanya play in running the show at home while you are gallivanting all over the world (give my love to her)
Hugh – Tanya has been my “Rock” over the years. She has kept our home going and gave me peace of mind that my son, Kieran, was safe and well looked after when I was abroad. She always ensured that everything that I needed was ready for when I travelled, including my clothes and snacks for the flight. Dropping me off and fetching me at the airport wasn’t always easy, but she made it possible.
Tanya and Kieran for being content with sacrificing family time for my work.
My parents who always supported and motivated me.
The University of the Western Cape Physiotherapy department for affording me the opportunity to study physiotherapy.
Ismail Jakoet who recruited me as a student to assist with SARU’s rugby safety programme and who ultimately gave me an opportunity to be involved with national teams.
Griqua Rugby Union where I started in 1999 with provincial teams