Heat chambers help Aussie sevens to prepare for dry Dubai

Womens - Dubai
by Daniel Gillespie

Skipper Sharni Williams says the Australian womens sevens team have been getting ready for the heat of battle in Dubai by using high-tech heat chambers in their training.

The Aussie women sevens teams will both be in action in the World Sevens Series tournament in Dubai, which starts on Thursday for the women.

Based on the edge of a desert, Dubai is hot and players can expect temperatures above 30 degrees, which can lead to heavy fatigue during the course of the game.

To acclimatise for the conditions, the Aussie womens team has been using a heat chamber that is part of UTS Sports Science facilities located on the floors above Rugby Australia’s headquarters at Moore Park.

“It’s been really good preparation for us, obviously with the heat, we’ve been doing a fair bit of heat chambers sort of things at Rugby Australia, so in the heat room doing the rower and a bike session which has prepared us really well,” Williams said.

The chambers can generate temperatures up to 40 degrees and up to 90 degrees in humidity.

Williams believes that while the heat chambers have been very useful, she said the key to success in round two of the Womens World Series will be teamwork.

The Aussies finished a disappointing fifth in the opening leg in Colorado.

“If we’re not performing as a team then we’re not going to be able to go out and win, so it’s about us going out there and really showcasing what Australian Women’s Sevens are about again,” Williams said.

The Australian men’s team kick off their season in the opening tournament but have a tough pool, facing Japan, Canada and England.

“We have just been getting combinations down pat, really solid, understanding each other and understanding the way we want to play,” captain Lewis Holland said.

The return of dynamic stepper Maurice Longbottom from injury is a boost for the team, Holland said.

“Moz is always dangerous, he can kinda get a try from nothing so he’ll be a threat this weekend and he has trained really well over the preseason,” he said. 

Experienced players Michael Wells and Henry Hutchinson in the team will look to provide depth and knowledge as well. 

“With the likes of Wellsy (Wells) and Hutchy (Hutchinson) coming back, they bring a lot of experience through mental and physical (skill), so they will be a great addition as well,” Holland said.

Head Coach Tim Walsh is focused on a strong performance with no regrets in Dubai.

“It’s going to be a different year this year with the Olympic qualifiers, so I’m sure the level of all the teams are going to take it up a bit," he said.

“The important thing for us is to prepare without regret so just making sure that we’ve done everything we can so we can walk off the field on Saturday afternoon knowing that we’ve done everything we can."


THURSDAY NOVEMBER 29 (World Rugby Live Stream)

7.44pm (all AEDT) - Australian Womens 7s vs England

10.40pm - Australian Womens 7s vs China

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 30 (Fox Sports 507)

1.59am - Australian Womens 7s vs USA

6.36pm - Australian Mens 7s vs Japan

10.20pm - Australian Mens 7s vs Canada

SATURDAY DECEMBER 1 (Fox Sports 507)

3.37am - Australian Mens 7s vs England