After watching the Ospreys 7s achieve a notable first in the Singha Premiership 7s in Cardiff on Friday night, Richard Fussell says the team’s success was down to their togetherness.
Having failed to progress to finals day in their two previous attempts, the Ospreys caught the eye with a stylish showing at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park to secure second spot with two wins from three games, and now head to the Ricoh Arena in Cardiff on Sunday 7th August.
Having recently made the move from senior player to skills coach at the region, Ospreys centurion Fussell was one of the coaches who took control of the region’s 7s team, and he said the tale of the night was how they learnt from defeat in the opening game against the Blues to grow as a unit throughout the evening.
“From start to finish, I think the boys progressed well” said Fussell.
“You look at that first game, yes, we lost, but what we learnt from that game stood us in good stead for the second match, the third as well. This group has never really played sevens together but it showed that they have the ability as well as the right attitude.
“Physically, they matched the Dragons, who are a very good team, and then took it to the Scarlets in the last game knowing that a win would give us a really good opportunity to do something no Ospreys team has ever done in this competition.”
He said that it had been a calm and level headed dressing room following that opening game loss, and that reflected in how the team reacted:
“We had a few messages for the lads after game one but nothing they didn’t already know. It was about reiterating a few things, and making sure they took control of the nerves and used their energy in the right way in the right areas.
“We were confident that if we settled down and stuck to what we know, do what we’d trained in the week, we could make an impact. Once they’d got their heads round that we saw it on the pitch which was really pleasing.”
Victory over defending champions the Dragons meant that another win in the final match, against the Scarlets, would almost certainly guarantee qualification with the Blues and Dragons facing off in the final game of the night.
“The attitude of the lads in the last game was the most pleasing thing about tonight” continued Fussell.
“They dug in really deep and it was an excellent performance. You could see what it meant to the group, they were doing it for each other and that was good to see. In sevens you can get exposed very easily if you are playing an individual game but they dug in for each other, worked well and stayed connected which is one of the things you’ve got to do in sevens and that we’ve worked on this week.
“In that last game they looked live a sevens team and they did themselves proud.”
Now the team has to refocus and go again in two weeks, and Fussell said they are looking forward to the challenge:
“We’re going through, we’re going to Coventry, and the boys are happy.
“We’ve got two weeks now to prepare for that one. It’s going to be another step up, the quality is going to be higher again, but we’ve got to be ready and approach it in the same way we did tonight.”
Tickets for the Premiership Rugby 7s Series Final on Sunday 7th August at the Ricoh Arena are now on sale at this link