Mind games begin in hunt of Gold

Chris Ford Profile
by Chris Ford

They have embraced the favourites tag in the lead-up to the Olympics but now it seems Australia coach Tim Walsh is pushing it over the ditch.

Speaking at the team’s final training run before their Olympic debut, Walsh suggested New Zealand should be favourites for Gold after they admitted to cruising through the World Series to finish second.

“New Zealand have stated that they weren’t showing any cards and they were preparing for the Olympics and not the World Series,” Walsh said.

“You look in the past experience in the Sevens, they have won everything.

“We are going in as number one but I’m pretty sure that they’d be the favourites because they didn’t put their best foot forward during the World Series.”

The call is sure to rile New Zealand on the eve of their Olympic campaign after Australia took home its first World Series title in the 2015/16 season. 

New Zealand had won the three previous World Series titles but were off the pace this season.

“I hear other teams and other coaches saying that “anyone can we this tournament”,” Walsh said.

“But then they say “we held things back during the World Series because we’re looking at the Olympics” then the next breath they say “anyone can win it” so I don’t really understand that.

“We are confident because we prepared the way know how and we know we can walk away from these Olympics without any regrets.”

Walsh has been happy to heap the pressure onto his side in the build-up to the three-day tournament. 

“It is the pinnacle of their career, not taking anything away from the World Series but there are four of them between the Olympics.”

“I think the Gold medal is going to be the pinnacle of your Rugby Sevens career.”

Australia women’s Olympic campaign

Sunday 7 August (2.30am AEST) against Colombia

Sunday 7 August (7.30am AEST) against Fiji

Monday 8 August (2.30am AEST) against USA