Utilising the invaluable insights of Rob Horne is just one way Australian Men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh is trying to instil his team with the mental edge required to climb the World Series Sevens mountain.
Horne was the team’s manager during their last tournament - in Dubai - and was a surprise arrival at training on Monday.
He was renowned for his unflappable nature through a consistent seven year Test career and that’s an element lacking among Walsh’s troops.
When confidence is high the Australians can look like world beaters but heads can drop when adversity strikes and Walsh is the first to admit that remains a “work on” Classic Wallabies like Horne can help develop.
“There is a lot to be said around winning habits and confidence,” Walsh said.
“Every champion in whatever sport it may be… whether it’s a tennis player or a golfer… when they make mistakes it’s about how much they can park it and continue on their job and concentrate.
“We aren’t there yet.
“We make errors and compound or the last play of the game - which a lot of the time these games come down to - we aren’t on the positive ledger of those situations.
“It is basically the difference.
“Player for player these guys are outstanding - it’s just that ability to do it in perceived pressure and to perform.
“We aren’t going to win everything or make every tackle but as a team it’s about being on the back foot and getting out of it.
“It’s certainly a work on and I truly believe that if we get that right we are going to be where we want to be.”
In Horne, the Australians have a role model who was “meticulous” in his preparation as a player.
He isn’t the only ex player being called upon by Walsh.
Stephen Hoiles has been a well received addition as an assistant coach, Drew Mitchell is working closely with Henry Hutchison, Adam Freier is coaching lineout throwing and Peter Miller - the first Australian to score 100 World Series Sevens tries - has also been involved.
“Rob is meticulous in his preparation, ruthless as a player and as a manager he is bringing that in,” Walsh said.
“His attention to detail and stuff like that is always one step ahead and it’s phenomenal.
“Guys are carefully picked but what they add is generally up to them.
“They’re all really valuable and passing on their IP and their experience and passing it onto the next generation.”
Integral parts of the next generation will be showing their wares at the Hamilton 7s, including debutant Josh Coward, who was a central figure in Sunnybank’s inaugural Queensland Premier Rugby 7s winning campaign.
“He was in the squad a couple of years ago and he has gone away, worked incredibly hard on his game, matured a little bit and he has earned it,” Walsh said,
“He's a genuine ball player who can kick under pressure so well done to Joshy for getting his chance.
“That's one step and he should be very proud of it but we don't just want to participate.
“We want to go out there and win so there is some big responsibility on him and the rest of the players.”