In form Malouf targets improvement in Glasgow

by Staff Writer

When you think of quiet underachievers throughout the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series, one name that immediately springs to mind is that of Nick Malouf.

The kind of consistent performer rarely left out of squads since making his debut in November 2012, the 22-year-old from Sunnybank in Queensland has taken his game onto a whole new level this season under the tutelage of Qantas Australian Sevens Head Coach Geraint John.

Now a genuine world-class forward in his own right, Malouf believes that John has been him the tools to "express himself" on the World Series circuit among some of the best Sevens players on the planet.

"With Geraint coming in, he has shaped my game a bit differently and given me the confidence to back myself a bit more," says Malouf. "It's been pleasing to step up my game from where I have been in previous years."

However, despite being one of the bright spots in an otherwise indifferent tournament for the Aussies in Tokyo, Malouf remained unsatisfied. However, he does believe the recent unseasonal weather in Sydney over the past few weeks will be prove to be a blessing in disguise come Glasgow.

"Individually, I've been happy with how I have been going but it's always disappointing isn't going so well. To be honest, I want the team to do well over anything else."

"We've had a fair bit of rain in Sydney so that's definitely helped us - the weather in Glasgow is usually pretty ordinary so having the same conditions back home has aided us with the skills we'll need for the weekend.

"If the conditions are going to be wet then we'll obviously adjust our game plan accordingly."

Australia will play Olympic qualification rivals England first at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow at the weekend, before rounding out Pool A against France and Russia.

"We are playing against three exceptionally good teams in Glasgow," said Head Coach Geraint John. "England won in Tokyo and are the number one seeds and we play them first up. France are a very good side who have some talented individual players who can play physical rugby, move the ball and can offload well too. Russia did well in Hong Kong and are a core team now and will be excited to play against some of the core teams. We won't be underestimating them."

John added that after their disappointing 10th-place finish in Tokyo - which put their automatic Olympic qualifying aspirations on the back foot - it was decided to go "back-to-basics".

"We've just been working on the key things that we worked on prior to Hong Kong and Tokyo. We had a discussion as a group - what worked well, what has been good for us, what has been the things that enabled us to be in top four.

"We had a frank discussion with regards to that and we have gone back to basics, freshening the players up and bringing a bit of variety to our training. We're looking forward to Glasgow and getting over there to show people Tokyo was a one-off and we are team that should be challenging for that top-four position."

Both days of the Glasgow Sevens will be LIVE on FOX SPORTS. Day One will be available via the Red Button on FOX SPORTS 2 from 7.20pm AEST on Saturday 9 May, while Day Two will be broadcast on FOX SPORTS 2 from 7.20pm on Sunday 10 May.

Final squad for the Glasgow Sevens: 1. Nick Malouf, 2. Jesse Parahi, 3. Tom Cusack, 4. Lewis Holland, 5. James Stannard, 6. Con Foley, 7. Cameron Clark, 8. Greg Jeloudev, 9. Ed Jenkins, 10. Allan Fa’alava’au, 11. Pama Fou, 12. Alex Gibbon

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens results in Glasgow, Scotland, 9-10 May:

Australia v England, Pool A, 8.14pm AEST

Australia v France, Pool A, 11.42pm AEST

Australia v Russia, Pool A, 2.31am AEST

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