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Fire in the belly, ice in the mind

By RugbyPass

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Former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, gold medal-winning coach Ben Ryan, ex-Wallabies captain George Gregan and current USA Men’s Sevens player Stephen Tomasin star in revealing film released ahead of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

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In the run-up to the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, World Rugby Sevens Series title partner HSBC today released a new short-film that delves into the unique mentality of a Rugby Sevens player and the mental attributes required for a successful team.

Former Ireland and British & Irish Lions star and current HSBC Rugby ambassador Brian O’Driscoll talks in the film about his experiences of the pressures of top-class sport: “When I was a young guy I always thought that experience was completely overrated… As soon as you get that experience…you realise how vital it is to the success of any team having players who have been there and done it, who have that calmness about them when everyone else is panicking.

“Fire in the belly, ice in the mind…You see the best players always turning up in key moments and making good decisions, because as much as their heart is jumping out of their chest, they’re very clear in their thought.”

HSBC Rugby ambassador Ben Ryan had plenty of experience with the minds of Sevens players as head coach of the England Sevens team and the gold medal winning Fiji Sevens side: “What will make the difference ultimately in the tight games and the big matches is what’s happening mentally…still seeing 360 when the clouds come in, with fatigue, with decision making, with the opposition being ahead, the clocks running one way, something else is happening and you’ve got to still think very clearly, you’ve got to be able to communicate clearly and you’ve got to make the right decisions…The top players are going to be able to do that, the teams that perhaps aren’t used to that situation, haven’t got that resilience, are going to be the ones that will get close, but won’t get close enough…”

Having played 139 tests for Australia, HSBC Rugby ambassador George Gregan knows what it takes to perform mentally at the highest level: “You can never really practice being nervous…What you’ve got to be able to become good at is being able to be disciplined enough to do the real simple things real well…It might be the last two minutes, it might be the last play of the game, it might be winding down the clock. It’s what you do in those situations that’s really important.”

Current USA Men’s Sevens star Stephen Tomasin knows all-too-well the impact Rugby Sevens has on the mind: “In the Sevens game the lungs and the legs are what get fatigued first and then the mind goes after that. So if we can get our lungs and legs to fatigue as far as they can and keep our mind in the game, then we know we can go that little bit extra.”

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To follow the story of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, follow @HSBC_Sport on Twitter and Instagram and HSBC Sport on Facebook.

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