Cheryl Soon: A phenomenal achievement
By Cheryl Soon
In her second column for rwcwomens.com, Australia captain Cheryl Soon reveals the affect that winning Rugby World Cup Sevens has had on the Wallaroos in the 15-a-side game and the dream of uniting both World Cups for the first time in history.
Read Cheryl's first column, looking back at that RWC Sevens success >>
Our success in the first ever Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai last year has given the fifteens squad members a little bit of confidence.
There is talk that if we can win a World Cup in Sevens then we can certainly give it a good nudge for the 15-a-side World Cup and a lot of the fifteens players who aren't conditioned to play Sevens are inspired by our success.
We are not going to be cocky, but it will give us a little bit of confidence and just to know that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it, as long as you do the hard work and that is what it comes down to - what you put in you get out.
We have been drawn in the same pool at the World Cup as three-time defending champions New Zealand, but I think with New Zealand you have not got to look at it like they are the world champions, they are just players and you have not got to let them intimidate you.
Believe and anything is possible
I guess some players or teams are a little intimidated by the teams at the top, but I think you do not look at it like that. They are humans just like you are and if you want it, just think how much you want it and strive for it and set your goals high.
It does give us a little bit of confidence that we have beaten them three times in Sevens, including the World Cup final, but Sevens is completely different. However, it does give us a sense of belief that they are beatable and we believe we can beat the best. They are world champions in fifteens as we are in Sevens.
We are just going to be taking it one game at a time and focusing on one game and not look too far ahead. If we execute our game plan - whatever it is going to be - and execute the basics right anything could happen and we could certainly come away with a win.
We deserve to go into the game with confidence. Any game you play, you have to go into it believing you can win and wanting it and the team that plays their best and wants it the most will win.
We are basically considering every team a threat to us and not taking any team lightly, I don't think you can afford to do that.
We have certainly got a tough pool, but personally I would prefer it that way. It is going to prepare us for the games leading into the play-offs so it is a good test for us. That is what you want, to test yourself against the best and that is certainly what we will be doing with the pool we have been given.
Time to retire?
We have the chance to unite both the Sevens and 15-a-side World Cups for the first time ever and to achieve that would be absolutely phenomenal. I think I'd hang up the boots after that! Oh my God, to achieve something of that magnitude …
Firstly to win the Sevens, the inaugural Sevens for women, that was just an amazing achievement and given the limited collective preparation time we had, just achieving that was absolutely amazing and we all worked extremely hard.
To do it again in fifteens would be a dream come true, a career highlight and something that you would never ever forget. It would be just another memorable and wonderful rugby experience..
It is definitely achievable. It just comes down to the collective team effort and hunger and passion and desire. You need to have all those things in the mix and if everybody thinks like that, strives for that, then that is definitely something achievable.
I would be so elated if we won the fifteens. The next thing on the list would be an Olympic gold medal then! Although that is a long way away, the first thing on the horizon for us is the World Cup in England.
Stepping up training
We are starting to ramp up training a little bit. We all do our own sessions, but we have two team training sessions a week. On Monday nights we do conditioning and skills with our head coach and our strength and conditioner. On Wednesday we come together and do weights.
In between you have to put in our eight sessions a week. It is pretty intense and pretty hectic but we do it for a common goal - the World Cup, that is what we are aiming at.
We have got training camps coming up and it is going to be pretty fierce at those. Everybody is fighting for their position on the team, everyone is putting 110 percent into their programme as well as the training camps because they know that everyone else is doing the same.
I've said it before but it is all about the passion. We don't do it for the money, there isn't any! We get paid a very, very small allowance, it would probably only cover a one-course meal.
You put in all those hours and make so many sacrifices and for what at the end of it? You do it because you love what you are doing, you love playing rugby.
We are just preparing now to go to the Hong Kong Sevens at the end of the month - playing as the Aussie Amazons. We've had to fund the trip ourselves because unfortunately there is no funding at the moment, but we just want to play rugby, we want to go there and defend our title.
It is all about the hunger, the desire and passion and our love for the game.
Next week we catch up again with Sweden captain Ulrika Andersson-Hall.
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