Do you still get nervous before big competitions?
Yeah I do I get really really nervous actually. It’s always a huge honour to play for your country and I don’t take putting on the Australian jersey very lightly.
Do you have any pre-comp rituals or superstitions?
Not so much rituals, more I always wash my hair the day before and straighten it so it looks nice in a ponytail and maybe paint my nails either green or some sort of Australian colours.
How did you get started in in rugby? When did you realise you wanted to play professionally?
I started playing quite late I'd only played my first game of sevens in 2012, in my last year of school in Brisbane. My family dragged me out to a "try sevens day" which I wasn’t too thrilled about doing. From then from then on I entered a school competition and after one day of playing got scouted to play with the state side for Queensland and everything kind of escalated from there. I got to get selected for the youth olympics team, I played in Sydney in 2013 and it all kind of happened from there.
What are the main changes you’ve seen in women’s rugby since you joined the team?
I think sevens as a sport has grown a lot. In 2013 not many people had played and I don’t think many people knew there had been a World Cup played in 2009 for the women’s in particular. So since 2013, when I came on board, I’ve seen the women’s competition change from IRB Sevens to the HSBC World Sevens, we’ve seen a lot of sponsors come on board like HSBC who have really driven and pushed for women’s equality in this sport. We now have more tournaments on the circuit for women’s teams, we also get to now have combined men’s and women’s tournaments like on the weekend in Hamilton and this weekend in Sydney.
What do you love about the Sevens Series game?
I love being able to travel the world playing rugby sevens, not many people get the opportunity to do that playing for their country and we get to see some beautiful places. The push that HSBC has been giving behind the scenes for gender equality in rugby sevens is awesome as we now get a taste for what’s it’s like when the men travel around the world which the girls are just in awe of and we can’t believe how lucky we are to have the opportunity.
What are you expecting from this weekend's tournament?
I know the team is very disappointed about our finish on the weekend so building on that performance over in Hamilton. Playing on home soil there’s always going to be that added pressure having family and friends in the crowd. I think the girls just want to get out there and put on a good display of rugby and be able to perform and hopefully bring home that gold medal.
What’s your physical, mental and tactical approach to Tokyo 2020?
I’m currently injured at the moment so I’m preparing in a different way where I’m not getting as much game time as I usually would. I’m doing everything I possibly can to get back out there on the circuit for the season and hopefully put my hand up to be in that final 12 that gets selected. We don’t find out who those girls are until maybe a month out from the tournament. I’m just trying to do everything right physically, nutritionally, mentally to be able to put my best foot forward and be up for selection.
What were the major learnings from the Comm games that the squad is taking to Tokyo?
I think the most important thing that came out of that game is that we had our opportunities to run away with it against New Zealand and we didn't take them. So when we’re training it’s those little one per cent-ers, going that extra mile. There was a key moment in the game where I could have scored and I got tackled and we turned the ball over... We need to work a lot harder especially at the very end moments of the game. Maybe just a little bit more mental toughness to capitalise on those moments we had.
What does a regular week of training look like for you?
We train four days a week and usually Thursday is our day off and a typical morning on our heaviest day, a Monday, we’d get into training either 6:30am or 7am check in. We go through our whole process of medicals and physios, making sure everybody is feeling ok heading into a big week. We normally have a team meeting and then go down stairs into the gym area, we have what we call the green room which is where we do a lot of preparations in. We do about half an hour in there to prep for training and then head out on the field, we could be out there for two hours plus. Then we do all of the recovery things, have lunch, any treatments. The we’ll do gym and an extra skills session at the end.
What practices or habits outside of physical training help with your performance?
Nutrition is a big one, to help us fuel our body and help recovery so we're prepared to play over and over again. Obviously sevens is played over two days so fuelling your body with the right foods the night before is very crucial.
For more info about how you can get along (or get around) the Sydney 7s this weekend head here.