Jenkins wants to avoid 'Pool of Death'
October 10, 2013
Ed Jenkins hopes to lead his team to the Cup Grand Final in front of the Gold Coast crowd © Getty Images
Australia captain Ed Jenkins is pushing his side to come out strong on Saturday at the Gold Coast Sevens for the side's greatest chance of getting through to the qualifying finals and avoid the "Pool of Death" wipeout at Skilled Park.
Speaking to The Courier Mail in Queensland, Jenkins spoke of how top nations can no longer sit back and expect the easy win over minnow nations in their pool, as more and more sides become contenders for sevens titles.
"Back a few years, you'd be able to red-pen a few sides in your pool and almost guarantee a path straight into the Cup quarter-finals, but these days it's almost impossible to do that," Jenkins said.
Pool D rivals Scotland (Saturday, 1.04pm AEDT), Argentina (Saturday, 4.20pm AEDT) and sevens powerhouse Samoa (7.46pm AEDT) are all ready to knock the host nation back and keep them from a final in front of a home crowd. One slip up against Scotland or Argentina could leave the Aussie outfit having to defeat the Samoans just to stay alive in Sunday's competition.
"There's a Pool of Death every tournament. Nothing's easy, which is the way sevens has gone with the sport now in the Olympics for 2016.We have three tough games first up."
After a full-time two-month block of solid training, the Australian side is ready for the strong competition especially with star attacker Shannon Walker fit for the tournament as well as team-mates young Cam Clark, Melbourne Rebels-bound forward Sean McMahon, Jesse Parahi, a refreshed Jenkins and Con Foley.
Last year's tournament saw 245 tries scored across the two days, with Fiji taking home the silverware. The Fijians will hope to bring back their flare to the tournament, with former England coach Ben Ryan taking the reins for the side.
"I hope the journey of the Fijian sevens team to the 2016 Olympics inspires the sporting world. It's incredibly exciting when Fiji has never won an Olympic medal before," Ryan said. "Fijians at sevens are like Brazil in football. I think I can add some professionalism so they leak less points and score more at the other end."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September