New look Aussie Sevens side targeting “big three” ahead of 2018-19 season
On the back of their most successful preseason in history, the Australian Men’s Sevens side are setting the bar high ahead of the opening World Series tournament in Dubai next weekend.
“We’ve got three big targets this season. We want to win the Sydney Sevens, Comm Games and the World Cup in San Fran,” utility forward Tim Anstee told Rugby News.
“They’re the big three and we’re aiming big there but we want to tick a number of boxes along the way. We want to be winning World Series events as well and want to be consistently medalling throughout the year.
After winning the Munich and Central Coast Sevens tournaments and finishing third at the Oceania Sevens earlier this month, Australian coach Andy Friend named a new look squad for the opening tournament in Dubai, featuring two debutants – Randwick’s Ben O’Donnell and Rugby League convert Maurice Longbottom.
“The new boys are keeping us all on our toes, they’ve added plenty of enthusiasm to the squad and they want to impress so it’s creating plenty of competition for spots,” Anstee said.
“Ben O’Donnell has been really strong and deserves his spot, as does Maurice, he’s been exciting as well. He’s got some pretty hot feet on him and he’s torn a few teams to shreds already so far, so hopefully he can continue that form in the World Series.
Longbottom set the Sevens world alight after starring on debut at the Munich Sevens last month.
“He’s come from a league background and he’s a lot smaller then some of the other guys, he’s only five foot and about 70kgs but we play a lot of seven v seven at training and he steps through us constantly,” Anstee added.
“He’s actually helped our defence quite a bit because we need to work so hard on our tracking to mark him in training.”
Anstee said he feels more physically and mentally ready for his second World Series, after making his debut for Australia last year.
“It all came very quickly for me, I certainly didn’t expect to play so many tournaments in my first year,” the Eastwood junior said.
“This year I’d like to be a lot more consistent though, at times last year I could be a little hot or cold, but this year I’d like to be a lot more consistent and be known as a 14 minute player.”
Australia will face Wales, Russia and Fiji in Pool C next weekend.