Disappointing Olympic debut not good enough: Jenkins

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australian Sevens captain Ed Jenkins has rated his side’s Olympic debut as one of their most disappointing days, with the side left fighting for a quarter-final berth.

Jenkins was not shirking away from a mixed opening day of results, in which Australia lost to France 31-14 and beat Spain 24-12.

After finishing fourth in the 2015-16 World Series, the Aussies were rated a potential medal chance but now they are battling for quarter-final qualification.

Australia has lost to France. Photo: Getty ImagesJapan’s upset of New Zealand could make a difficult assignment harder for Australia who play South Africa in their final pool match at 12:30am Thursday AEST.

Depending on results in the final round of pool matches, Japan's win could make it more likely for them, New Zealand and Great Britain to progress, leaving Australia to battle for the last spot in the knockouts.

Jenkins said the players were far from their best on the first day, a frustrating turn of events on their Olympic debut.

“We weren’t up to scratch,” he said.

“It was probably one of our worst days of the year, nothing seemed to click out on the field.

“To put that out on our Olympic debut was really disappointing but at least we get another crack at it tomorrow and it won't take much to fix.”

He was scathing of his own performance as much as the team’s and said there were few positives to be sought from the day.

“I’ve got to take responsibility as much as anyone else and I wasn’t good enough, we weren’t good enough,” he said.

“We have a big match against South Africa tomorrow and that will be a big challenge but I know the team is up for it.

“We have to be ready for it and that means we’ll have to play far better than what we showed today.”

Ed Jenkins wasn't shying away from his team's disappointing opening day. Photo: ARU MediaThe Australian campaign was hit with a second blow with playmaker Lewis Holland ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring strain.

Holland has struggled with injury in the lead-up to the Olympic Games but looked to be out of the woods.

"There is a strong belief amongst this group and it's obviously a shame that Lewi is out but I'm sure the team will rise to the occasion over the next two days," he said.

Australia takes on South Africa in its final pool match at 12:30am Thursday AEST, with quarter-finals starting from 6am.