They are the defending World Series champions and Olympic Gold medallists but fresh of a defeat in Dubai has the pressure on the Australian women’s sevens team.
A 12-point defeat to perennial rival New Zealand in the Cup final left a bitter taste in the mouth heading into the HSBC Sydney Sevens, now less than a month away.
“It was a time to get out there a try a few different things but we’re very disappointed with that final and it has certainly given us that kick up the arse and that motivation to put on a show in Sydney,” coach Tim Walsh said.
“We watched that game (the final) and we think it really came down to defence, maybe a little around complacency or desire around making effective tackles.”
The women will join the men on centre stage for the first time in an Australian leg of the World Series, with the Sydney event to have competition points on offer both men and women.
The Australia women did feature at last year’s Sydney Sevens but only in an exhibition capacity, after they swept Ireland aside in a three-game series in-between breaks in play for the men’s event.
Walsh, having heaped pressure onto his side leading into the Olympics last year, has repeated the dose heading into Sydney.
“It’s the weight of expectation and you can block that out as much as you want but they are the World Series champions and Olympic Gold Medallists.
“The girls are getting noticed in the street and it’s that kind of pressure that they haven’t dealt with before and something that they will have to get used to.
“There’s one thing about this team and it’s their ability to thrive under pressure. The more they are challenged, the better,” Walsh said.
The chance to bounce back from the disappointment of Dubai not lost amongst the playing group either with Charlotte Caslick keen to erase the demons of the final against a revenge-fuelled New Zealand side.
“The girls just used it as motivation to get better and we obviously found some things we need to work on,” Caslick said.
“It’s a different type of nerves (compared to the Olympics) I think. We are so proud to represent Australia and we want to give them an awesome showcase.”
The HSBC Sydney Sevens kicks off on Friday, February 3 at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Tickets available HERE