Australia Sevens have recruited the services of a psychologist as they go into the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens with high hopes of turning around what is so far a disappointing world series.
Their task in Hong Kong has been complicated by the fact that they have been drawn into the toughest group of the tournament against Pool C opponents Fiji, New Zealand and Kenya. And apart from the physical aspects, the Wallaby 7s are also preparing mentally.
“It’s just having some tools to cope with pressure moments. A lot of that comes with experience, but the job as coach is to accelerate all those learnings,” said coach Tim Walsh.
“You look at our games and you hear me talking about it a lot, within our six games four to five of them are going to come down to a pressure moment.”
Australia sevens have been guilty of losing focus in key moments, resulting in inconsistent performances and the team must improve their mental strength if they are to qualify from their tough pool. And head Walsh needs to call on everything at his disposal to help his players cope with pressure.
With only the top two qualifying for the main Cup competition, Australia Sevens must win at least two of their three pool games to go through to the play-offs or they will finish outside the top eight.
Their ninth place in Vancouver was why Australia was drawn in the “pool of death”. Australia are sixth in the world series standings on 65 points after six tournaments. The USA sit on top of the standings on 113 points.
Main photo credit: Rugby Australia