“Good, not great.”
That was Tim Walsh’s take after a silver medal n his first tournament in charge of Australia’s men, in Singapore.
It was by no means a pessimistic view of his new charges, with Walsh saying the weekend, on which they fell to Fiji in a thrilling final, showed the potential of the side, which looks positive.
“(Second place) is not too shabby. Good, not great,” he said.
“(It) certainly opened my eyes to a lot of different things we need to work on in situations or scenarios where we can really make a difference to make sure we’re consistently on the podium.”
A suspected knee injury for acting captain Jesse Parahi was a major blow for the side, with the 28-year-old forced off in the semi-final and only able to watch on in the decider.
John Porch led the side admirably in the final, with Parahi the third skipper to suffer an injury in recent weeks, and Walsh said he was happy with how they coped under adversity.
“In Sevens, it’s always adaptive, you have to be agile and adaptive and make the best of the situation and it’s no different this week,” Walsh said.
“(I was) really pleased to see what the boys can do, how they behave under pressure and where we can take this team and that’s what we want, is (to be) on the podium.”
The final itself was a test of Australia’s resolve, and for a moment the Aussies on the sideline thought they had it won, before a knock-on forced a scrum in the final 30 seconds, ultimately leading to the winning score.
“There were certain things we went in to try and counteract Fiji and things we wanted to do and in the first half we were not doing it, in the second half we started to play the way we had planned to and it started to pay dividends,” Walsh said.
“Our defence in particular in that first half (was good) even though they scored a couple of tries, they showed some real intent and some of those calls we nearly got.
“Literally all we had to do in that last 30 seconds after that scrum was make our tackles and we didn’t.”
The team will return to Australia on Tuesday and Walsh will have some time with them before they head to the final two World Series legs, in Paris and London.
Building relationships with the team will be critical for Walsh, who took over from Andy Friend after the Commonwealth Games a fortnight ago.
“It’ was pretty quick, whirlwind stuff and in terms of the tours and the structure everything’s the same (as the women),” he said.
“Getting to know the people and getting the best out of them (is crucial) and I learned a lot about the players, which is handy.
“(I) made some subtle differences in communication and stuff that hopefully got some good results.
"It’s the very early stages and I’m really enjoying it. (I’m) pretty pumped about where this team can go.”
The London Sevens is the penultimate World Series leg, on the weekend of June 2 and 3.