“The Honey Badger” Nick Cummins, Aussie fly-half Quade Cooper and even Kiwi star Sonny Bill Williams are some of the 15-man-game stars to have been lured across to sevens ahead of this year’s Rio Games, but one of the tried and true sensations of the Aussie Sevens men’s team is their ultra-speedy and skilful centre Cameron Clark.
Cam talks to Inside Sport on preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Playing the part
“I usually play centre. In sevens you have two props, a hooker, a halfback, 10, centre and wing. A good chunk of my role is around the mid-field; a lot of organising in defence, set pieces, just helping out the halves with moves. When you’re out a bit wider, it’s a lot easier to see what defences are doing, as opposed to those players who are always right in the thick of it. Communicating is a big part of the game when there’s only seven people on the field.”
“Usually we’ll have two team meetings each week. Mostly these meetings are a review of our own training. We’ll review Monday and Wednesday training sessions on a Friday, and on the Monday we’ll review Friday’s session. Leading into tournaments, we’ll use that Friday meeting to analyse opposition teams as well. Today, for example, we had a look at Kenya (in Australia’s pool for the now-completed Wellington Sevens) and earlier in the week we analysed Portugal and Canada, the other two teams in our pool.”
“The squad will break into groups for this analysis. Some people will look at attack, others at defence. It might be a set piece we’re focussing on; ‘restarts’ are a big team meeting subject, too; a big and important part of Sevens. Our meetings usually run for half an hour. Some days they’re over quickly. I guess today we had a lot to go through, so it went a little bit longer. As well as our coach Tim Walsh and the players, our team manager Luca Liussi also sits in on these meetings; often they might have something constructive to say; housekeeping – getting passports in for travel, things like that.”
Bend and stretch
“Before each field work session, we’ll prep to train. Here, we’ll go through a range of warm-up exercises so that when we hit the training paddock we’re ready to go. Especially now with heavy training loads, guys are quite stiff and sore when they arrive here in the morning, so it’s a good opportunity to roll out any niggles or trigger areas that need work. There’s a generic component of this prep where everyone’s doing the same thing; on the rollers and different trigger [massage] balls and mobilisation exercises. At the end everyone breaks off and does specific movements catered just for them; they might have shoulder exercises they need to do. Using the rollers and balls gets the body moving, as opposed to taking 5-10 minutes to get going out on the field until you feel good. It’s all about injury prevention as well; making sure guys have all the right muscles firing and ready.”
If you’re a rugger fan and Cameron happens to look a tad familiar, it’s because you’ve likely seen his dad, Greg, commentating the odd game over the years. But Cameron is a sensation in his own right. The 185cm, 83kg juggernaut scored 32 tries across the 2014-15 World Sevens Series, finishing equal fourth on the try scoring list with 32 and fifth in points scored (218).