Australia humbled by visit to local orphanage
Australia’s Sevens squad took time out from their training schedule ahead of the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens in Port Elizabeth this weekend to return to the Sinethemba Orphanage.
It is the second year the Australian squad has visited the orphanage and a tradition they hope to continue as they look to support the work that the Sinethemba Orphanage does.
The team brought with them stationary, Australian children’s books and Australian pins and also shared their rugby knowledge with the young children during their visit.
Team manager Luca Liussi said the visits were a highlight for the players, who enjoyed running through rugby drills with the children.
“We showed the kids some rugby skills and drills and played some games with them and in return they showed us their learning room and sung us some educational songs,” Liussi said.
“It was a truly humbling experience and the team enjoyed themselves as much as the kids.”
The visit offered perspective on the team’s performance at the Dubai Sevens last weekend, where the team was eliminated in the Shield semi-final.
Just two days away from the kick-off of the third round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth, coach Michael O’Connor said fundamentals and a lack of cohesion had let his side down in Dubai.
Practice makes perfect
“We’ve been working hard this week,” O’Connor said. “Practice makes perfect and we’ve just got to get more practice in. We have a young squad together, we need more time to gel and I think we’ll be a lot better this weekend.”
The squad arrived in Port Elizabeth earlier this week looking to make amends after their worst-ever finish in a HSBC Sevens World Series round in Dubai.
O’Connor said the entire team could learn from the mistakes of Dubai, including himself.
“We can all do better,” O’Connor said. “I made a coaching error in our pool game against Canada. We were up 28-14 with a minute to go and I emptied the bench to give the new guys some experience and that really cost us.”
O’Connor’s squad for Dubai featured four debutants after injury ruled out several key players, including captain Ed Jenkins.
While he was happy to add further depth to the squad, O’Connor admitted Dubai wasn’t the ideal testing ground for new players.
“It is a positive to get these guys exposure, but getting it on the circuit isn’t the best way to do it,” O’Connor said.
Australia will face Dubai champions Samoa, France and hosts South Africa in Pool A on Saturday.