Coach Gollings to find balance; Wary of physical and mental wear on players

Coach Ben Gollings assists the Fiji 7s side during training at the Sigatoka sand dunes on Thursday, January 5, 2023. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FT FILE

The Fiji Airways Fiji 7s men’s head coach Ben Gollings is working on ways to get the right balance so certain senior players are not worn out during tournaments on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series (WRSS).

Gollings has rectified that a quote from an interview last week was taken out of context where it was stated that the players did not have ample recovery time between matches.

He said the tournament processes were the same the whole time.

“I think when someone asked me that question I said that it was with some of the senior players who didn’t have time off since the Olympics as they kept on going,” Gollings said.

“They kept pushing themselves so there is mental wear as well as physical wear on their bodies.

“We haven’t had much time off post-World Cup for those players to rest their bodies and reset their minds. So we have had to work hard to keep pushing them and keep motivating them without burning them out.”

Fiji is placed fifth on the HSBC WRSS points table with six more tournaments remaining.

The national side is grouped with Australia, Kenya and Japan for the Los Angeles 7s from February 25-26.

This will be followed by the Vancouver 7s from March 3-5.

Gollings said their schedule was pretty rigorous.

“We do not have a lot of time off, which is not a complaint but just a reality,” he said.

“Then we are on the road a lot. It is not just the two days of rugby in the tournament that takes it out of you, the travel takes it out of you and the time zones takes it out of you.

“We are managing that process and we are managing it well but also identify the fact that it is key that we try to give people rest so they get time to reignite themselves.

“That is exactly what we did with Jerry (Tuwai). We had given him the time off as he did not have the time off in a long time.

“I think in context you could argue that in the last tournament there was too much time to recover because there was a long spread between games.

“It is not necessary between the games because recovery is the same between every game although there is a key that we need to be diligent with it.

“We need to focus and maximise the recovery every time we play.”

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