All about the attitude at altitude for Parry, Aussies

Womens - Colorado
by Sam Phillips

They have seen most things on their way to an Olympic gold and two World Series titles but the Australian Women's Sevens squad will face a fresh challenge in Colorado this weekend.

The Aussie side be playing at altitude for the very first time to kick off the 2018/19 World Series and it's not exactly sunny Sydney either.

Glendale sits at 1609m above sea level, making it as high as Johannesburg, and snowfalls even greeted the Australians on Monday.

But co-captain Shannon Parry wouldn't have the weather or the lung-burning thin air of Colorado as any sort of excuse.


Rather than shy away from the altitude the Australians will embrace it as they strive to start their season in style.

"At the end of the day it’s a footy field and it’s the same for everyone else," Parry said.

"It’s the same rules and everyone plays in the conditions.

"It’s a bit colder which isn’t something we are used to playing in.Alicia Quirk and Shannon Parry will be integral parts of the Australian title defence. Photo: Getty Images"The altitude will be there but it’s just like any other game so we have to embrace it like that."

While there is no Olympic or Commonwealth gold up for grabs this season qualification for the former is up for grabs.

A top four World Series finish will be enough to guarantee the Australians a chance to defend their Olympic crown and that's all the motivation Parry and co need.

"We just need to focus on us," Parry said.

"It’s going to be exciting to put the new strategies into play and we know that Olympic qualification is at stake at the end of this World Series.

"We need to kick the campaign off this weekend on the right note and get the season going in the right direction."New Zealand were the form team in the second half of the season. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyWhile a top four finish will be enough to secure an Olympic Games berth the Aussies do have a World Series crown to defend.

They may have finished the season atop the season standings but there's no doubting New Zealand had the wood over them come the end of the season.

After losing a remarkable Commonwealth Games final in devastating fashion the Kiwis thumped coach John Manenti's side in both Langford and Paris.

Implementing a more physical approach at the breakdown will be critical to success this season and that's been a particular focus during a short and sharp preseason.

"I think we had a really good break after the World Cup to get away from the game and mentally freshen up," Parry said.

"We've had a really good solid preparation in Sydney and with Johnny Manenti at the helm and Chucky Stannard on board we have implemented a few different things and the run we had a few weeks ago in Japan was a big benefit for the team.

"We're really confident going into this weekend."

FIXTURES

Australian Women's Sevens Colorado pool games

5:20am AEDT - vs Mexico

8:04am AEDT - vs Spain

10:48am AEDT - vs Russia

The Aussie Sevens campaign at the Colorado Sevens kick off at 5:20am on Sunday AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.