John demands more from Wales Sevens in Dubai
With just under one month to go until the second round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, Wales' head coach Paul John has challenged his side to become more consistent.
Wales arrived on the Gold Coast earlier this month as genuine title challengers at round one, having enjoyed a strong pre-season that included wins over South Africa in South Africa. But John could then only watch as his side was knocked out by exactly the same team in the Cup quarter-finals in Australia.
Earlier, in the pool rounds, they lost to Canada but beat Fiji and finished with two narrow losses to South Africa and then Kenya in the Plate semis.
"Overall it was a better start than last year,” said John. "We reached the quarter-finals, which we didn't do 12 months ago, but it was frustrating to be so close against South Africa. We were really competitive against them but looking back it was definitely a game we could have won."
Defeat to Canada in pool play left Wales needing to beat Fiji to reach the Cup quarter-finals and Chris Knight's brace, as well as scores from skipper Adam Thomas and James Davies, saw them do just that.
Now, John wants the side to take the positives away from the Australian trip, and work hard on consistency ahead of their pool challenge in Dubai, which involves matches against Scotland, Spain and Gold Coast runners-up, Australia.
His players had a week off following their return from Australia, and John is now preparing to select from an extended training squad for the Dubai tournament on 29-30 November, where they will hope to improve on their current Series ranking of seventh.
"We have to get the standard of performance right in every game of the group. There are no easy games and there is no room for complacency. That's what we're working on, making sure we have consistency of performance on a regular basis and at each tournament.”
"The training camp ahead of Dubai won't be much different to normal but you can't take shortcuts in preparation and we won't be doing that.
"The core group of players will all come back into training and maybe a few extra boys too who will be given the chance to impress. The players performed well in Australia but we have a good squad and will look at everyone with regards to selection.”