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After two weekends of competition around the world, the captain of the French rugby sevens team, Pauline RivaShe took her time to answer questionsRugby News. He talks about his group, what he misses, his teammates and the next world tournament which will take place on May 20th, 21st and 22nd at the Ernest Wallon Stadium in Toulouse.
News: What is your assessment of your last two tournaments in Singapore and Vancouver?
Pauline Riva: It’s a bit frustrating because we have a group with great potential. But we’re not quite ready for the very important games that are played with few things and don’t turn in our favor.
We have to have confidence in ourselves and in our ability to beat the big teams on the world stage.
Exactly, what are you missing for it to go your way?
PR: I think we have to trust ourselves. We have several players who don’t fully understand the World Circuit yet. It’s not derogatory, but not everyone has the same experience in the group, so there can be a lack of confidence at times. We have to feel able to beat Fiji, Argentina or the other big teams to win a tournament. To be honest, I think we’re ready to win a tournament at the moment, despite a young group.
Especially since the next tournament will take place in France, in Toulouse, from May 20th to 22nd…
PR: I can imagine there will be a lot more support from our fans. And we don’t feel that everywhere in the world. There’s bound to be more people pushing us, but we also have to know how to keep our cool and not put any extra pressure on ourselves because it’s still a Rugby 7s tournament, you have to be focused from the first game to the last Look for a result we’ve been waiting for since the start of the season.
You know the great atmosphere in France in particular from the Paris tournament in 2018 and 2019…
PR: Honestly, playing in France is a real pleasure. It’s one of those rare times that we manage to evolve in front of our audience. It’s a pride. There are times when we’re really pushed by that crowd, so we’re dying to perform. Afterwards I know that we never made it to the final in Paris. It’s always disappointing, but that’s why you have to keep your cool and treat it as a tournament like any other. We need to focus on the group games first before picking up speed until we try to reach the final.
Speaking of growing, did you tick that tournament in France and model your peak form accordingly?
PR: It’s hard to say as the tournaments follow each other very quickly. The last tour (Singapore and Vancouver, editor’s note) was quite difficult to cope with. I don’t know if people will notice, but we traveled around the world in two weeks. It caused a little more fatigue. The advantage in Toulouse is that we will recover, so we will be fresh mentally and physically and all lights will be green to perform.
Nelson Epée is inspired by us in many ways, but also inspires us. We all pull ourselves up.
A phenomenon will play at home in Toulouse, Nelson Epée. Does he impress you within the French group?
PR: We knew that he had great physical ability and above all speed. Everyone saw it. Now he has to manage to reproduce that, especially in the big games. Which he already can, as he scored a good try in overflow against Fiji. Thanks to guys like him, if everyone does the work they need, we’ll be able to make great games. Nelson inspires us and he inspires us in many other ways. We all pull ourselves up.
Your group is also made up of very different profiles. Is that your strength?
PR: What’s really interesting this year is that we have very different and very complete profiles. We complement each other enormously. We really have all styles on the court, players who are good in the air, finishers, ball players, tacklers… We really have everything he can do and that makes him “we can win tournaments and have a very good team, competitive In all areas. Depending on the opponents we’re playing against, we need a lot of customization and that’s really one of our strengths.
We sense a real imitation in this group…
PR: Everyone pull up. We work very, very hard, I don’t know if people realize that. When players like Nelson (Epée) or (Aaron) Grandidier join us and train with us, they in turn realize that Rugby Sevens is a lot of work and they get going straight away.
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