Manenti and Sevens take mental advantage at Commonwealth Games after London exploits | Latest rugby news
Australian men’s sevens coach John Manenti is using his recent success in London as the engine towards an elusive gold medal ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The Aussies will be among the form squads in Birmingham, with the competition due to start on July 29.
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They currently sit second in the World Series behind South Africa, however, they have scored more points than the Blitzboks (132 to 129), with only the top seven finishes contributing overall.
This follows a breakthrough title in London two months ago, beating New Zealand in extra time to win their first event since Sydney in 2018.
On top of that, they finished second with an under-strength side in last month’s Oceania Sevens, beating a relatively strong Fijian side twice in two days.
With that in mind, Manenti believes they will return to the UK full of confidence as they look to do better than their silver medal in Delhi in 2010.
“We loved London and I’m sure we’re based at Warwick Uni and we’ll accept that. There’s nothing better than Aussies going to England and being well,” Manenti said. Rugby.com.au.
“We really had this mantra, whether it’s the Ashes or Rugby, Australians love to play against the English and in England.
“We’re going to use that as an engine to replicate that in London.”
The Aussies return with extra ammunition with Samu Kerevi and recent Wallabies recall Mark Nawaqantiawase called up to the 13-man squad.
While their presence is welcomed with open arms by the program, Manenti notes that it is “value-added x-factors”, with the likes of leading points scorer Dietrich Roache and impact player leader of the year Corey Toole can’t wait to go.
“It is important to note that both of these types are value-added x-factors. We don’t rely on them to be the heart and soul of the game every minute.”
“We have a very strong core group who have worked through the series and worked through the series knowing how to be successful and these two are just going to add bells and whistles to that to give us that point of difference.
“I think we have a very good balance between workers and x-factor players, people who have played in big experienced games like Nick Malouf and Henry Hutchison, Maurice Longbottom. We also have newer boys like Ben Marr, Matt Gonzalez, guys who have come this season and also a youngster like Ben Dowling, who has been in a few tournaments with us.
“A lot of guys tasted success in London and really enjoyed it and we are moving back to the UK where we have had success more recently. Getting to add Mark Nawaqanitawase and Samu (Kerevi) really gives us a point of difference.
“I think he offers complete and different ways to attack. Someone like Corey Toole set the tour on fire, but then I have someone like Marky who comes up with something totally different and we can attacking with different modes… we have different players who can play different styles and we are confident that we can be in a good position to attack this tournament.”