Aussies aim to lift standards at World Cup
THEY are the current World Series champions, but Australia's women's sevens team say they haven't been up to standard and are out to rectify that at the upcoming World Cup.
Coach John Manenti has been putting the team through arduous training sessions that include 10 kilometres of running a session to ensure the women are ready for San Francisco in two weeks' time.
They'll be looking for improvement after some big losses to rivals New Zealand at the back end of the World Series.
Australia won the opening two events but the final three wins of the season went to the Kiwis.
Appearances in the final at Canada and France gave the Aussies enough points to seal their second championship, but losses of 46-0 and 33-7 in those deciders are driving them to lift their game and finish on a high at the World Cup.
"It's been a really big season and we knew it was going to be with Comm Games and World Cup and then all the World Series," Australian back Emilee Cherry said.
"We had a big lead-up playing Central Coast, we played Fiji, Uni 7s, so I guess you could say we almost peaked with the Sydney, Dubai wins at the start of the season. It was kind of where we hit our straps.
"Those last two performances against New Zealand is really driving us at the moment, knowing we weren't as good as what we can be across the park. They're playing good, but we've kind of lowered our standards and haven't been playing to where we know we can."
There are no second chances at the World Cup.
The women's draw has 16 teams with the winners from the first-up matches progressing to quarter-finals and championship stage of the competition.
Winners moving through each stage from there, so to win the World Cup, a team must win all their matches.
Fatigue is taking a toll in a longer than usual season, but Australia know they can't be caught out switching off during a match, as they have been recently.
"Sometimes work rate, being lazy off the ball, has let us down the last few tournaments," Cherry said.
"Just not getting there for those attack seals. New Zealand and Canada and those other top teams have gotten so good now, you can't be a second late.
"The last few seasons if you were a second late you could still win the ball but now they're so strong over the ball you have no chance whatsoever and you're on the back foot from the start and defending the whole game.
"I definitely think our work rate has definitely not been what it can be and what we'll be working towards come San Fran."