Australia wants cup in second Sydney 7s

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Sydney 7s was a breakthrough for Aussie Sevens star Lewis Holland and he can’t wait to get back there again.

World Rugby announced the dates of the World Series legs for 2016-17 on Wednesday, with Sydney on the weekend of February 4 and 5 2017.

Holland was Australia’s standout in that tournament, a weekend that set the side up for one of its most successful runs ever.

The 23-year-old playmaker said after a number of years of lean turnouts in home tournaments, playing in front of a packed Allianz Stadium was a special memory.

“Playing in Adelaide and the Gold Coast didn’t really seem like a home tournament, there were always New Zealand Fijian, Samoan supporters.

“Playing in Sydney the boys through it was a great experience, there’s nowhere else in the World Series where we get cheered so having the crowd really behind us was fantastic.”

It was a happy debut for Australia in Sydney this year. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleySydney was the first in a run of Cup semi-final finishes for Australia, though they were ultimately pipped by New Zealand.

That’s a result Holland said they were keen to reverse.

“This year we went close to winning the Cup, but didn’t get one,” he said.

Obviously we’re trying to build up for the Olympics but every tournament we had a goal of trying to win that cup and we fell short on a couple of occasions.

“We’re looking to win a couple of cups and no doubt Sydney is one of our main focuses.

Holland has played little part in recent World Series tournaments, recovering from ankle syndesmosis, but he said he was due to be back in time for the side’s internal trials later this month.

“The ankle's going well,” he said.

“I’ve started running again so that’s a good thing. I’m just not pushing it at the moment but it’s  going really well.

“Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to get back out there with the boys and get back into full training.

Lewis Holland had a breakthrough tournament in Sydney. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyHolland said it hadn’t been easy watching his teammates from home, after such a strong start to the year.

“It’s always tough watching your teammates play when you know you can’t really be out there to help them or support them,” he said.

“I do a bit off the field to help them out but it’s definitely always frustrating being left at home, because at the end of the day we all love to play.

The ARU, in partnership with Destination NSW, has put in a bid for a concurrent Women’s Sevens World Series tournament, which, if successful, could potentially extend the length of the Sydney 7s to three days.

2016-17 HSBC Sevens World Series dates

Round 1: Dubai, UAE - 2-3 December 2016

Round 2: Cape Town, South Africa - 10-11 December 2016

Round 3: Wellington, New Zealand - 28-29 January 2017

Round 4: Sydney, Australia - 4-5 February 2017

Round 5: Las Vegas, USA - 3-5 March 2017

Round 6: Vancouver, Canada - 11-12 March 2017

Round 7: Hong Kong - 8-9 April 2017

Round 8: Singapore - 15-16 April 2017

Round 9: Paris, France - 13-14 May 2017

Round 10: London, England - 20-21 May 2017