The Aussie Sevens are ‘devastated’ for Lewis Holland, after a season-ending achilles injury, coach Andy Friend said.
Holland’s injury came in a training drill last week, landing on his right foot and snapping his achilles as he caught a ball, hitting the ground in a fall so innocuous, Friend initially didn’t even realise Holland was injured.
“Someone passed a ball, he caught it, took off and then just fell in a heap. Didn’t twist it or anything, he just fell,” he said.
“He was obviously devastated, he’s a massive part of our team on and off the field too.”
Holland’s latest setback comes after a series of poor injury fortune, with ankle syndesmosis ending his 2015-16 World Series and a hamstring injury cutting short his Olympic campaign in Rio.
“For Lewi, it’s just after the injury in Rio and then Hong Kong, he was just struggling to string games together.
“His confidence was coming back and everything was looking good then his achilles is gone.”
The 23-year-old will not be lost to the team, with Friend keen to keep him around in the coaching realm and to help mentor the number of new faces in the side.
“He sees the game better than most, understanding of the game, awareness of what’s happening, he’s got a lot to offer the team,” he said.
“The time for coaching is later on in his career but we can’t change the situation, so we’ll work on getting it better and keep his knowledge and ability around the team.”
The Aussie Sevens have just 11 fit players in their squad, one short of the number to compete in each World Series tournament, though Friend is confident they will have a much larger complement to draw on.
As well as injuries, Australia has had a major turnover of players after the Rio games, with Cam Clark headlining a handful of departures.
“We’ve had some players finishing up, some with niggling injuries that still haven’t mended yet,” he said.
“It’s a brutal game on the body so just need to make sure we get those fellows right for the first World Series tournament in Dubai.”