Injuries and dented pride
October 17, 2012
It was a weekend to forget for England © Getty Images
Injuries, injury-time wins, injury-time losses and dented pride - the opening weekend of the HSBC Sevens World Series wasn't anywhere near what we had hoped, wished for or expected to say the least!
It started smoothly, landing in Australia last Wednesday after a five-day camp in Hong Kong, where we trained at their university facilities and having some time off to get over the journey and acclimatise. Venturing down to the beach for a swim, freshen up and play in the surf before heading to the gym was a good start to our time there.
The rest of the week consisted of the formalities we have all got to know on the World Series - the opening ceremony, the sizing up one another up in the lunch queue, teams trying to work each other out and playing mind games in the media when deep down all anyone wants to do is get the first game underway on Saturday.
Being my second time to the area, i'd already planned out my spare time with a trip to the local mall and a wander down to Lola's Cafe after training to switch off before everything hit top speed and the event began.
Our weekend started with a draw against Kenya, a last minute score getting them the result. Then came our first game against our European rivals Spain. Little did I know that my weekend was about to come to an abrupt end.
Once again we started the game in fine fashion, moves off the training paddock putting us in the lead and despite us winning with an excellent 70m effort from Jeff Williams, it didn't end well for myself or Mat Turner.
No sooner had my teammate been taken off with a broken ankle, I was on the turf clutching at my knee after hearing the dreaded popping noise. Things were not looking all that rosy and the only silver lining was that at least I had someone to go to hospital with. Our weekend was over.
Being injured? Well, it sucks! No more so than when you have just come back from another injury and it happens in the first tournament of the season. For personal reasons, you can't help but feel sorry for yourself and think 'Why?'
But beyond that, you feel guilty for not being there to help the team and contribute to England's campaign. So day two was a devastating one for both Mat and I having to watch from what felt like an elevated cloud and unable to stand shoulder to shoulder with our band of brothers going to war three more times.
Ironically enough it was a different sort of injury time that decided our last two games. One of which we won and one we lost. By then we were also down to eight fit players. John Brake picked up an ankle injury and Tom Powell didn't feature at all after a bang on the head in the tournament's first game
The injuries aren't an excuse, just a matter of fact, so we can only now go back to the UK and strive to improve. It wasn't for any lack of trying but we didn't get things right and us as players have to be held accountable for not delivering on the pitch.
Certainly going down to Spain in injury time in the Bowl Final was not exactly where we expected to be at the end of Round One of the World Series, but that's where we are, with seven points and plenty of work to be done between now and defending our Dubai title in November. We must and we will improve over the course of a long series with eight more tournaments to go, so roll on Dubai!
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