USA sevens superstar Perry Baker has revealed who he thinks is the toughest team to play against in the HSBC World Sevens Series and also opened up about his pre game rituals.
Baker, popularly dubbed “speed stick” is sidelined as he continues to recover from a broken jaw and hopes to be fit in time for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens next month.
While the USA star man remains focused on his recovery, he took some time to answer s couple of questions from the South China Morning Post. When asked the toughest team to play against in the series, Baker gave an unequivocal response as he mentioned Fiji for their agility.
“I would say the toughest would be Fiji just because the style that they play. You have to be on your ‘A’ game on defence and you have to be on the lookout at all times. They have that agility to go lateral, so I would say those guys when they’re attacking and clicking, and they have a great offloading game, too,” he told the South China Morning Post.
The Eagles have coped well in his absence as they won the Vegas sevens tournament and also put in a strong performance in the Vancouver Sevens to remain top of the world rankings.
INJURY UPDATE | Perry Baker [@SpeedSt11ck] will travel home to undergo surgery on a fractured jaw.
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) January 26, 2019
‘Speed stick’ also talked about his pre game rituals and revealed they are important to him as they help him stay focused.
“I get dressed the same way every time, I always have to walk into the locker room with glasses on,” he said.
“So I’m in my zone and focused in, and when the coach is going to talk that’s the time that I take them off, and listen to what he has to say and then I’m ready to go. I have to tape my fingers first and then I tape my wrist, and then I put on my shorts and then I get my treatment done with Deep Blue and I rub my quads and my legs, and then I can put my shirt on.
“That’s the ritual every time, and then before I take the pitch I have to say a prayer,” Baker revealed.
His pre-game rituals may be somewhat elaborate but it is key to the top notch performances he always deliver which has seen him won two Rugby Sevens Player of the Year award.
Baker is in a race against time to be fit for the Hong Kong Sevens and his return will be a big boost to the Eagle’s campaign to win the HSBC world sevens series and qualify for the 2020 Olympic games.
Main photo: YouTube