Walsh's special connection to Ballymore as Aussies create new memories at Oceania Sevens

Mon, Nov 13, 2023, 4:55 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Last weekend's Oceania Sevens victory puts Australia in red-hot form for the SVNS Series. Photo: RA Media
Last weekend's Oceania Sevens victory puts Australia in red-hot form for the SVNS Series. Photo: RA Media

Sevens coach Tim Walsh has done it all in the game. However, one last look down the Ballymore tunnel on Monday left him near speechless.

The Queenslander spent his childhood watching his heroes and making memories at Ballymore, leaving his own mark on the home of Queensland Rugby after a near-perfect weekend at the Oceania Sevens for the Aussie Women's side, taking out the tournament.

Watch every game of the SVNS Series LIVE on Stan Sport. Start watching Stan Sport now.

One of the appeals of the Sevens format is the worldwide circuit, playing in glamourous locations such as Hong Kong, Madrid and Dubai.

However, it's rare for the Australians to play on home soil, especially in the Sunshine State.

It took until 2021 and a return to the 15-a-side game for Olympic champion Shannon Parry to lead an Australian side out in her home state whilst the 2018 Commonwealth Games saw Sevens return to the Gold Coast, which was once a regular stop in the early 2010s.

This makes moments like last weekend's even more special for the former Red, who grew up dreaming of following in the footsteps of Wallabies legends.

The new facility at Ballymore has revitalised the precinct and left the coach who has done it all stopped in his tracks.

“I grew up in Brisbane and my dad used to take me on the concourse and we used to watch the Wallabies and the Reds and I used to dream of running out the tee to Michael Lynagh," he explained to Rugby.com.au

“As I grew up, I played in club footy grand finals there and for the Reds so it’s always been to me my favourite place to go. Full of fond memories.

“(Monday) we did another session and then just some recovery and I started walking past the tunnel and looking at Ballymore, I just stopped and found myself smiling.”

The event doubled as an Olympic qualifier, with the likes of Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea facing off for Paris qualification whilst the Australians face a New Zealand development side (by name only) in a series of five matches, that included several Sevens regulars such as Jorja Millar and Shiray Kaka.

The near-full-strength Australian side blitzed their Kiwi counterparts, with a denied try after the siren to Faith Nathan on day one denying them a clean sweep before defeating Fiji 26-0 in the Final.

It was the perfect way to cap off a 'Champions League' pre-season of sorts for the Commonwealth champions, spending the winter facing World Series rivals in Canada, Italy and Ireland.

“It concludes our pre-season nicely. We travelled across the world playing against some great teams and we’ve won a lot which is good and now we’re ready,” he said immediately after the Final win.

“Oceania has always been a good tournament to set you up for round one so we’re pretty happy with how we played for the most part of the tournament.

“We’re looking forward to Cape Town and Dubai.”


Latest News

Australia Sevens Crest

Aussie 7s are proud part of Rugby AU

© 2023 Rugby Australia. All rights reserved. Part of the Rugby Network