Play, sleep, drink...and play again

Play, sleep, drink...and play again
Four members of the Qantas Australian Men's Sevens team - Cameron Clark, Frank Winterstein, Sam Myers, and Stephan van der Walt - try their hand at making laksa ahead of this weekend's Singapore Sevens at the Lau Pa Sat Market on Apr 12, 2016.
PHOTO: Imagica Production

Rugby Sevens is a high-octane, energy-sapping game.

So it may come as a surprise that one of the player's most useful weapons is a quick snooze.

On the sidelines of a "Laksa-making challenge" at Lau Pa Sat hosted by long-time Australian rugby sponsors Qantas yesterday, Sevens international Frank Winterstein shed some light into how players rest and recuperate between matches.

At the HSBC Rugby World Singapore Sevens this weekend, teams will play three pool matches on Saturday, followed by knockout games the next day.

Said the 29-year-old Winterstein: "Between matches, there are ice baths, a lot of stretching, and a lot of downtime, too.

"You're basically trying to get 10 or 20 minutes of sleep... All the lights are off, no phones are allowed.

BE SMART

"We're basically just trying to resource any bit of energy we can.

"We know we have to be smart and make the most of our time, because before you know it you're back out there on the field warming up for the next game."

Winterstein's Australian teammate Cameron Clark added that apart from catching forty winks, the players also chug down protein shakes and put on compression tights to aid in their refuelling and muscle recovery.

The biggest challenge in Sevens Series rugby, added the 23-year-old, was simply getting on your feet for the second day of competition.

"The next day, it's hard work getting out of bed," Clark said, with a laugh.

"Everyone wakes up quite sore. The games definitely take a lot out of you.

"So it definitely becomes a bit of a mental game as well. Mental strength plays a big part in the Sevens Series."

After reaching the semi-finals of the Hong Kong leg of the World Sevens Series last weekend - they were thumped 34-5 by eventual winners Fiji in the last four - Australia are aiming to do better at the National Stadium this weekend.

But they have been given a tough draw, facing Wales, Argentina and Japan in Pool D.

In the big picture, Fiji have stretched out to a five-point lead at the top of the series standings with 128 points, ahead of New Zealand (123pts) and third-placed South Africa (122pts).

Australia are fourth on 105 points.

Said Winterstein: "The Australia Sevens team, every time we put on the jersey, we always want to win the gold, the big prize.

"The last four (HSBC Series legs) we've made the semi-finals so we've shown we're a team to be reckoned with.

"We're just a little bit disappointed with how we went about our business in Hong Kong, we left a lot of points out there. We didn't make the most of our chances.

"This week, we're definitely going for gold, but we have to get out of our pool first.

"We got a tough pool against teams that, on their day, can roll with anybody, so we know we have to be on our best to make the quarters and so on."


This article was first published on April 13, 2016.
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