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Aussie Sevens remain focused despite historic weekend

Mon, 06/12/2021, 1:34 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Sevens sides' focus remains despite an incredible weekend. Photo: World Rugby/Mike Lee.
The Sevens sides' focus remains despite an incredible weekend. Photo: World Rugby/Mike Lee.

"I could do better"

The opening words from Player of the Final Faith Nathan after their win perfectly sums up the mindset of the Australian Sevens side after their near-perfect weekend: proud but not satisfied.

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The Women's side pulled off back-to-back Cup victories for the first time since 2017 as they smothered Fiji 15-5.

It ended up being a near-identical replay of last week's opening round: The Aussies cruising through the first day before a minor scare in their final pool game shocks them back to life as they ease to victory over Fiji.

“I feel really stoked and so proud of the team who have worked so hard. Winning back-to-back is harder but we had one goal in mind this weekend and that’s exactly what we did," captain Demi Hayes said after the win.

"We will have a little Christmas break but then get straight back into it and be ready for Spain.”

Meanwhile, the men built off their fifth-place finish as they powered their way to the Final.

Flyer Dietrich Roache told Rugby.com.au before the event they had the belief to go all the way and it showed as they pulled off impressive wins over the likes of USA and Ireland before a thumping 40-0 victory over Argentina in the semi-final.

They would fall agonisingly close in the Final against South Africa as a promising attack on the siren came undone just 10 metres from the line.

The weekend marked the third time in history both Australian teams made the Cup finals and proved there's still plenty to be excited about despite a below standards Tokyo.

This is especially prevalent when looking at the men's side, whose three losses against Fiji, New Zealand and Argentina in Tokyo saw them eliminated from medal contention whilst the trio of teams ended up filling the podium.

Australia's build-up was significantly affected by COVID, limited to games against NZ and the Oceania Sevens Championships.

However, that June tournament in Townsville may have been a blessing in disguise as it allowed the likes of Corey Toole, Henry Paterson, Tia Hinds and the Levi sisters to get valuable experience playing against International sides as part of the Oceania Barbarians.

With most teams on the circuit undergoing a major squad revamp, the youthful additions have provided a natural spark desperately needed to compete with the best teams in the world.

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Both teams will enter 2022 in the top three of the standings with full knowledge the dynamic will shift once they hit Spain with New Zealand set to return along with the disbanding of Great Britain to its individual nations.

Following their opening-round win, the Kiwis' absence was immediately and un-promptly noted by star Charlotte Caslick, who once again was named Impact Player of the Tournament.

“It was great. Obviously, we have a bit of a new-look side and I think those girls really stepped up and did a great job,” she said last week.

“We had a great energy throughout the week and I think that led onto the field. That was great within itself but for me, not having New Zealand there...I really want to beat NZ so I guess it’s great to get back on the winning side and you learn a lot from it. 

“It’s something you have to work hard on getting good at so hopefully it gives us confidence by the time New Zealand are back, we’ve won four tournaments and we can rip into them."

With the looming discussions around coaches set to be finalised by the end of the year, the fortnight in Dubai has set the program up perfectly heading into a packed 2022 campaign.

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