Paterson relishing Sevens return as Australia prepare for Vancouver

Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 12:10 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Sevens star Henry Paterson is hungry to regain his spot in the starting side as he returns to the SVNS World Series in Vancouver.

Paterson will play in his first tournament of the season this weekend as the Australians build on back-to-back finals appearances.

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His return comes at the perfect time after a slight calf injury to Maurice Longbottom, with the 26-year-old excited to be back with July's Olympics hastly approaching.

“The boys are humming, they’re not going to drop their standards so it’s up to me to lift my game to be ready to play in Cup finals because that’s where the boys are at," Paterson said.

“My focus is on earning my spot back in the team, nothing is given. Hopefully, I can play some minutes and contribute to the squad somehow."

Paterson is comfortable with setbacks throughout his short career, missing the Tokyo Olympics after picking up an injury days before they were set to travel out to Japan.

“It hasn’t been easy but these experiences I like to think you come back better and stronger from them," he explained.

“In a way leading into Paris, I could be sitting here in July with a gold medal saying ‘thank god I had those tournaments out’ because it allowed me the right mindset to grow and have a successful season.

“I’m taking these negative experiences as learning experiences and trying to grow from them."

The Easts product had a stellar 2023 season, named in the World Series Dream Team after guiding the Aussies to Olympic qualification.

These standout performances were enough to see Paterson claim the 2023 Shawn MacKay Medal despite missing the last two events of the Series.

“It just shows how much respect I have for this squad and how tight we are," he said.

“To win the award in such a competitive team means a lot. The last 12 months have been a whirlwind losing two of our captains early on and a few of us boys were left to deal with it, resulting it more minutes than we’re used to.

“Luckily we landed on our feet and qualified for Paris so we’re trending in the right direction.”

Paterson and the Australians are set to face France superstar Antoine Dupont in their final pool game, opening their accounts on February 24 against Samoa and the USA.

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