Choices in the crunch have been un­do­ing of Aus­tralian Sevens

Rotorua Daily Post - - Sport -

SEVENS

Aus­tralia will head into the HSBC World Sevens Se­ries round in Hamil­ton on Jan­uary 26 look­ing to ad­vance their abil­ity to han­dle endof-game pres­sure.

Coach Tim Walsh told rugby.com.au that im­prov­ing play­ers’ in­stincts un­der pres­sure was cru­cial to Aus­tralia lift­ing their rank­ing in Sevens. Aus­tralia sit in sixth place af­ter two rounds of the 2018-19 se­ries.

“In the last five years, we’re at about 30 per cent win­ning rate, so we need to get that above 50 and it’s go­ing to be a whole dif­fer­ent thing,” he said.

At Dubai in the first round, Aus­tralia won their pool game over Eng­land in the last play to make the quar­ter-fi­nals.

In the se­cond round, in Cape Town, they lost to Eng­land in the quest to claim fifth place.

Win­ning those key mo­ments at the end of games could make all the dif­fer­ence and that would be Walsh’s goal for the side.

“It’s a very unique game in Sevens in that you play six games on the week­end and if you’re a good team

I asked the play­ers, ‘What is your de­fault un­der pres­sure?’ and not a lot of them re­ally knew. Tim Walsh Aus­tralian Sevens coach

— which we are, we’re not a great team, we’re a good team — three to four out of those six will come down to the last play.

“And that’s that abil­ity to main­tain your com­po­sure, main­tain your skill level, main­tain the knowl­edge of your role and just play­ing your game,” he said.

Walsh had gone back to ba­sics with his squad.

“I asked the play­ers, ‘What is your de­fault un­der pres­sure?’ and not a lot of them re­ally knew. So, it was about think­ing through, ‘un­der pres­sure, what do I re­vert to, or what do I do that I can un­ravel and change?’ It was ba­si­cally go­ing through stuff or work­ing out what that is and then we can change that,” he said.

“The psy­chol­ogy side of it is putting your­self into a po­si­tion where ev­ery­thing else is just noise and you’re just play­ing this game.

“We have our sys­tems, we know what we’re do­ing and we just play.”

That was dif­fer­ent to de­fault­ing to some­thing ou­tra­geous that wouldn’t be at­tempted in the first minute of the game and then try­ing to do it in the last minute of the game.

Walsh used for­mer Aus­tralian in­ter­na­tion­als Rob Horne and Stephen Hoiles and oth­ers to work with the side in deal­ing with pres­sure in dif­fer­ent ways.

“It’s such a huge fac­tor but we’re get­ting re­ally good process that hope­fully we’ll see the real re­sults of it very soon,” he said.

For the Hamil­ton tour­na­ment Tim An­stee has been ruled out due to an an­kle in­jury while there is doubt Boyd Killing­worth will make it. How­ever, Si­mon Ken­newell is set to play his first tour­na­ment in 12 months af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a rup­tured ACL.

— all­blacks.com

Photo / Photosport

The Aus­tralian men’s sevens side is look­ing to im­prove be­fore the Hamil­ton round this month.

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