THE Uni 7s tournament isn’t just about uncovering the future Charlotte Caslicks or Shannon Parrys to lead our national women’s team, it is also attracting new coaching talent too.
With the second leg of the tournament to kick off at Macquarie University this weekend, Bond University coach, Ben Gollings, said coaches have been working closely with Australia coach Tim Walsh to ensure their programs are developing in line with each other.
Gollings is a legend of the sport who made 70 sevens appearances for England and holds the pointscoring record with 2,652. Since retiring he’s coached in Sri Lanka, the USA, China and now Australia.
He said he took up the role on the Gold Coast for the chance to work in Australian sevens and his playing days alongside Walsh make his job that bit easier.
“It was an opportunity to get involved in elite level sevens here in Australia and also the opportunity to be working more local,” Gollings said.
“Sevens is something I’m pretty passionate about so it was great for me to be able to do that with my young family and where we’re living on the Gold Coast.
“Tim Walsh and I go back a long way, we used to play together, so we have a good rapport.
“Knowing the game, Tim trusts me to make sure the girls are up to speed with where they need to be. There’s a good amount of alignment.”
Bond sit second on the overall standings after losing 15-5 to University of Queensland in round one in Tasmania.
Gollings said he expected the intensity this weekend to rocket now teams have experienced the other teams and players have had a taste for what it’s all about.
“It was a good leveller (Tasmania) and we have some things go really well, others we need to fix or work on,” he said.
“We’ve kind of recognised that and look to putting that in to planning in the training sessions and I believe we’ll be better prepared come round two.
“Where this is all really interesting is it’s a huge learning curve for everybody. Not only were they learning on the fly during the tournament, but a lot of a learnings have happened since then.”
And though Gollings is at the coalface of developing the next crop of Aussie women’s sevens stars, he has no issues with the fact he could be undoing his home nation down the track.
“I guess in sport there’s a lot of crossover and I’ve spent quite a lot of time here,” he said.
“Being English I have an allegiance with the English team, I haven’t played with it for a number of years but here I guess where I’m happy and I’m very supportive is just to be giving back to the game I loved playing.
“Wherever that opportunity is provided I’ll work to the best of my ability.”