Aussies quietly confident with pool draws

Mens - Hamilton
by Sam Phillips

All things considered, the Australian Men's Sevens brains trust are chuffed to have drawn Pool B for the Commonwealth Games.

As the fifth seed Australia were always going to face one of South Africa, New Zealand, England and Fiji and with the current state of the World Series through three legs, England look to have been the best possible result.

So to draw the old enemy on the Gold Coast on Thursday was somewhat of a relief for captain Lewi Holland.

"Being seeded fifth, where we popped up in that second draw - we got lucky to score England," Holland said after the draw.

"They're still a tough competitor but those other teams - South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji - they're red hot."


Holland's coach Andy Friend echoed his captain's thoughts, though he was a touch more cautious of what both England and Samoa will bring to the table.

"It was always going to be a tough draw with the top four sides based on last year's rankings," he said.

"We were gonna get a tough one but I'm comfy - we knew we were going to have a tough game and England as well as Samoa - that's going to be a real hard one.

"Jamaica I don't know a lot about but it's a solid pool."

Holland has been rested as the strength and conditioning staff manage his workload following his return from an achilles injury but he will be back come Las Vegas, as each nation ramps up preparation for the April Comm Games.

"Come this year, it's all about results," Holland said.


"Sydney was our major focus - our first one - Comm Games is the next one and then onto the World Cup.

"Getting that win under our belt to instil confidence in these guys will be awesome come Comm Games."

While the men still have this weekend's tournament in Hamilton, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Hong Kong to come prior to arriving on the Gold Coast, all eyes now turns to April for Australia's women.

Australia has drawn Fiji, England and Wales in Pool B and Charlotte Caslick said everything was starting to come together, fresh off the jubilation of their Sydney triumph.

"After Sydney - that was our first goal of the year and that has now been ticked off - all our focus is going towards the Commonwealth Games," Caslick said.

"To have the draws released it is all coming together."


This will be the first time women's Sevens will be played at the Commonwealth Games but it will be the last tournament for coach Tim Walsh.

He has led this squad to dizzy heights during his tenure and it will be an emotional moment for all when he has coached this team for the final time.

"It'll be in the back of my mind," Caslick said.

"Going into the weekend we all knew it was his last World Series so we were really excited to finish like that for him in the World Series.

"To be his last tournament completely will be quite sad, it'll be bittersweet I think and we will all want to finish with a bang for him."

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