There always seems to be a lot of talk surrounding the bigger picture – we need contracts, then we need bigger contracts, we need a better form of talent identification, we need better talent, we need a high performance setup between the club and international levels, we need more coaches focusing on skills, etc.
But what sometimes gets lost is, what do we have to do to win now, and do we have the horses to win now? 15s Eagle Alipate Tuilevuka and RUGBYMag Editor-in-chief Alex Goff think we have the talent. Does Alex Magleby?
“At the end of the day, if we stick to the structure, we simplified things for the guys a bit, put on the handcuffs for a few guys a little bit, we’ll be fine,” said Magleby.
“If we execute the basic skills well, more often than the opponent, we’ll be fine. We’ll actually do very well. This team can compete and should be winning games on the circuit. We’re showing that we can and I think the important part is we’re showing to ourselves that we can.”
Making the Cup Quarterfinals in South Africa has given the Eagles a visible injection of confidence, and they take that confidence into Wellington 7s this weekend. They have a real shot to make a second Cup Quarterfinal in a row, with England, Spain and New Zealand in their pool. And their chances have been improved by the returns of Andrew Durutalo and Blaine Scully, who provide flexibility, athleticism and variety. But confidence and the addition of missed players is nothing without basic execution.
“We have quality athletes, and what I mean by that is we have balance in the type of athletes that we have, so we can play a multiple type of attack game, a multiple defensive type of game,” said Magleby. “If we don’t make tackles, we don’t win. If we don’t execute the two on one, we don’t win.”
The 7s Eagles are as healthy as they have been in a long time, they’ve spent ample training time together, there’s a positive vibe surrounding the team, there are no World Series debutants on the squad, and their pool draw is favorable. There are no built-in excuses going into Wellington – it’s do your job and win, or don’t.