Holland hoping Paris deja vu ends at pool stage

Mens - Paris
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Aussie men’s Sevens will face the same pool opponents for the second tournament in a row in Paris, but skipper Lewis Holland hopes that’s where the deja vu ends.

Australia topped its pool in London last week, before losing a quarter-final to England and then being blown away by New Zealand in the fifth-place semi-final a result coach Tim Walsh described as unacceptable. 

Holland joked the identical draw had given the coaches an easier week, but was adamant that Australia was desperate to rectify a ‘sloppy’ Twickenham outing.

“I don't think I've ever had the same pool drawn out, that's why the coaches have been at the tennis all week because they don't have to do much,” he laughed.

“It’s a bit weird, but we've got plenty to learn from last weekend.

“We were pretty sloppy across the board and Ireland, they went all the way (to the bronze medal), so they're not going to be an easy feat.

“They're going to have a lot of confidence under their belt, knowing what it needs to go again to where they ended up last week.

“Outside of what we can control, we'll just do our groundwork on what they gave us in that last tournament but we'll just really focus on what we can improve.”

Paris is the finale of the 2017-18 World Series, but the Sevens sides won’t have a break until the end of July with the Sevens World Cup coming up next month, and momentum from Paris will be critical for that.

“I think once it gets to the World Cup, we've been going for 53 weeks or something like that, from the start of the preseason, so the last of the World Series is this weekend, which is kind of pleasing, just to see where you are standing at the end of the year,” he said.

The men's captains are preparing for a tough Paris Sevens. Photo: World Rugby“We'll have some good results, some not so good results, so hopefully finish this weekend with a real strong positive performance, to get a lot of confidence moving into that last little training cycle before the world cup and then get over there and do some damage.”

The Aussies have made three changes to their side for the tournament, with Brandon Quinn, Dylan Pietsch and Jeral Skelton coming into the team and Holland said it would be an invaluable opportunity for them to show their wares.

“If you can make an impact or a mark, or be very strong above someone in that same position, no doubt you're going to catch the coaches' eye,” he said.

“That's a challenge for everyone to turn up to training, turn up to play like it is going to be their last and like they want that spot, whether it is a World Series tournament, Comm Games, Olympics,or this one, the World Cup.”

Australia opens its Paris sevens campaign against Wales at 5pm Saturday, AEST.


Aussie Men's Paris Sevens pool matches

All times AEST.

Saturday June 9

Australia vs Wales, 5pm

Australia vs Spain, 7:56pm

Sunday June 10

Australia vs Ireland, 1:48am