Sweat, Blood, Tears As Teams Toughen Up For Rio

Fiji Sun - - Comment - OSEA BOLA Feed­back: os­eab@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.”

Com­ing days

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.