Aussie men want to win big in Vegas

Mens - Hamilton
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Aussie Sevens men have caught the winning disease and coach Andy Friend says they don’t want to let it go.

Australia broke a six-year drought to win the Cup in Sydney before finishing third in Hamilton a week later.

The Aussies have had a mixed history in America, finishing second in 2016, and sixth last year, but success will be critical for them this time around, as they look to continue the momentum they’ve built so far.

“Winning's contagious as is losing,” Friend said.

“When you're used to losing those ones, you tend to lose those ones but now that we've had that win, and for the boys playing it, they just felt very comfortable there and they felt they were in control, so that's given them real confidence.

“The opposition start to take you a bit more seriously and they'll turn up with an A-game, so we've got to be better as well.”

Defence has been a major focus for Australia in the break between tournaments, something that was a cornerstone of their Sydney win.

“Our defence, in our collective view, is that that's what won us the Sydney tournament and that's what did really well for us in that victory over New Zealand our attack wasn't pretty against New Zealand but  we were gutsy,” he said.

“So, if you've got that attitude and you've got that defence that's working for you, results will come your way.”

Boyd Killingworth will sit out the Vegas leg. Photo: Rugby AU Media/Karen WatsonAustralia will welcome back captain Lewis Holland and Jesse Parahi for Vegas, with Maurice Longbottom (ankle) and Boyd Killingworth (leg) missing the tournament.

Jeral Skelton will play just his second tournament when they head to America, and Friend said the run of wins would make the transition for new faces like Skelton easier.

“We're trying to say, 'Listen, there's no pressure on that, if you turn up and perform your role, the other boys around you, now they've got the confidence and they’re talking and they're believing’.

“‘You've just got to follow their lead and it should give you confidence’.”

Friend was also optimistic about his future in the job, with his contract expiring in July, with more news expected on that front in the next month.

The Aussie men leave for Las Vegas on Sunday, a week out from the fifth World Series leg.

The Las Vegas Sevens kicks off on Friday March 2 local, Saturday March 3 AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.