Aussies hope Sydney opens door to success

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s taken them six years to break a Cup title drought but the Aussie 7s men hope a Sydney win opens the door for more World Series success.

They have exceeded expectations in the three iterations of the Sydney tournament but haven’t been able to carry it through the rest of the season, only making one other Cup final in the past three seasons.

Australia’s Sevens reputation has grown immensely with the women’s success but men’s coach Andy Friend said this win would hopefully put the men on the path to a similar standing.

“You've got to have people pushing the ones above them and we're starting to build that,” he said.

“The quicker we can get competition out there in schools and men's competition to keep pushing that depth through, it's only going to make this team stronger.

“Why can't we be Olympic champions, world champions?”

The Aussie men were jubilant after the Cup final. Photo; WalmsleyThe Aussie men have been hard at work since July last year, ticking off preseason invitational wins before the World Series, but a full-blown Cup win will give them an extra legitimacy.

“I just thought those boys were fantastic,” he said.

“They worked so hard and that's the thing (people) I don't see - a lot of people don't necessarily give the Sevens the respect it deserves and i've been coaching now for 23 years.

“I've never seen a group of people work harder than these blokes and so to see them day in and day out do that but not get the recognition, it's been tough, but now they get the recognition and I'm very pleased and very proud of them.”

They found their way to the final, and the title, the hard way, having to beat USA, New Zealand, an in-form Argentina and the all-conquering South Africans along the way.

Their defence was their hallmark and it was a cause Friend asked his team to recommit to on day three, and they did that with aplomb.

Then came the Cup final, their first since 2016, and Tim Anstee said there was a simple message going out to

“Friendy just told us to go out there and take it, we've got nothing to lose out there,” he said.

“We played good footy up until the final and we knew if we stuck to our guns then had a complete performance out there, we were every chance of taking it.”

The next challenge is in Hamilton, where Australia will face Fiji, Wales and Spain in their pool games, and it’s one of which Friend is acutely aware.

"Great sides win but championship sides keep winning," he said.

"We've got a job to do next week, we're going to soak this one up, I promise you because it's been a while, but we'll make sure to turn up next weekend and back it up."