NZ Women’s 7s Team and Speed with coach Sean Horan
Why is 7s so fast?
It’s a pure game of rugby; it’s adrenalin based; it’s a short sharp punch and it just has to be instinctive. Sevens is all about speed. It’s a hugely dynamic game that moves rapidly, from one end of the field to the other, from side-line to side-line in the blink of an eye. If you look at the form of sevens, it has a lot of space. To be able to find that space and take that space as an opportunity, you need to be quick. We’ve got some speedsters, and those speedsters have been able to give us a dynamic that is very beneficial to the way we play.
In such a fast game how do you keep focus?
To keep up speed, you need to be thick-skinned – to go into that dark space, and be comfortable there, you have to mentally tough, so that you’re unleashed when you run onto the field. The power of the mind comes into play through the entire 14 minutes of a sevens match. It’s not just about raw skill. You have to have a strong character be able to put your emotions aside. They have to be happy to work in a crisis zone – and work well under pressure.
How do you become a good 7s player?
Having a keenness to learn is crucial. You have to want it; you have to get yourself up every day. The work you do off the pitch allows you to shine on the pitch. But as well as the hard grind, an equally important team value is enjoyment. Players need to love what they do. It’s always been my core value of coaching - it’s the eyes and the smile. When you look into somebody’s eyes you can usually see what it means to them. And also the smile - that’s them succeeding on the field and off the field. And as a young programme, I think we’re doing that pretty well.