Sweat, Blood, Tears As Teams Toughen Up For Rio
With a less than a month to go before rugby sevens makes its debut at the Olympic Games in Rio, preparation has never been so intense.
It has shifted into the overdrive with players shedding blood, sweat and tears keen to make the cut for the global showpiece.
Breaking personal best
Vodafone Fijian 7s coach Ben Ryan has never been so lethal, brutal and strict in the execution of his training programme since he took over the role three years ago. He won the World Sevens Series titles twice but his captain for the last three years Osea Kolinisau has never seen Ryan so keen, firm and on the dot in his demand for perfection. “Ben raises the bar and we’ve never experienced it before,” Kolinisau said. “Training has been tough since he took up the coaching role. The boys have been responding well, they look fitter and stronger.” Ryan knows the pressure of coaching sevens for Fiji and he wants only the best for the job picking players on ‘form not faces’ on Saturday.
While other countries like South Africa, Great Britain and Australia are getting game times, the squad are divided into two and involved physical hit-outs at the Uprising Beach Resort In the last few days, Pio Tuwai and Emosi Mulevoro took turns as water boys injured from the torrid encounter. “I’ve tried to toughen them up as much as possible. The boys are tired, fatigued, a bit grumpy but they know there’s a bigger goal in sight. “My plan is for all of them to break their personal best on their fitness and everything else.” The 13 players will spend a few days in Chile before heading to Rio.
Blitzboks at Stellenbosch
South Africa took part in the inaugural Assupol 7s tournament played at Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch, winning all three of their final day fixtures and walking away with the overall spoils. “We achieved most of the aspects we wanted to look at. The areas we worked on in training came through well. There is always room for improvement, but overall I am pleased,” said coach Neil Powell.
“We still have a couple of weeks to fine-tune things and will continue to work hard in order to do so.” South Africa, second seeds for the Olympic Games, will announce their final 12-man squad for Rio 2016 on Friday, the same day that Australia, one of their Pool B rivals, and Canada and Argentina name theirs.
Lions roar in London
It was an all-Great Britain final at the Sevens and the City tournament at Allianz Park in north London, as the GB Lions defeated GB Royals 27-14 at the home of English Premiership and European champions Saracens. “It has been an amazing day with some outstanding individual and team performances, toe to toe, the competitive edge and the quality of the game. I’m absolutely delighted,” said GB coach Simon Amor.
Pain in Darwin for Aussies
The Australian 7s squad was put through a hellish pre-Rio fitness camp in Darwin last week. “It was the toughest week of training I have ever done in my career,” regular team captain veteran Ed Jenkins said. In temperatures ranging between 30 and 35 degrees, the team had one day off in a nine-day block and each day was a new shade of pain. “The humidity and the heat was bad and by far the toughest week I’ve been through.”
The next few days will be tough for the Fijian national 7s squad before Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announces the team on Saturday. We wish the squad members all the very best.
Fiji is going to be the favourites and we would all be cheering for them (at the Rio Olympics sevens rugby)
John ‘Knuckles’ Connolly Former Wallabies coach