And we are back for the start of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2020 season! Eight tournaments and the Tokyo Olympics, this year is going to be an absolute cracker.

The season kicks off in Glendale this week but before I talk about that I’m going to give you a bit of an insight into our lead up and how our pre-season has gone.

During our annual leave break we had a few of our full-time contracted girls along with some development players head to the Pacific Games in Samoa. The Aussie team had a really strong campaign and unfortunately went down to a strong Fiji side in the gold medal match.

Shortly after this tournament the squad returned to training for the start of the pre-season. The first week back a group of 14 girls headed to Japan to do a heat training camp. This week coincided with one year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And holy moly was it hot.

Imagine wrapping yourself up in glad wrap, wearing a full tracksuit over the top and then running around inside a dome with a clear roof in 35-degree heat! I know I’m a little dramatic but that is what it felt like in my head. At the end of our sessions I could have quite honestly squeezed about a cup full of sweat from my shirt!

Olympic insight

We were based in Odawara, about one hour on the train outside of Tokyo. We will return to Odawara prior to the Olympics again for training. This heat camp was really important for us in our preparation for the season and the Olympics next year. We were able to experience the heat and humidity and get an idea of what to expect that same time next year when we’re running out in the Australian jerseys in Tokyo.

Away from the field the hospitality in Japan was incredible. From the moment we landed right until it was time to leave again, everywhere we went we experienced phenomenal service. Getting a chance to immerse ourselves in the Japanese culture was also a pretty cool part of the trip and having done that now, while getting our bearings around what to expect next year will allow us to focus 100 per cent on the Olympics when the time comes.

Returning to Australia we started our pre-season as a full squad. In a nutshell it consisted of plenty of hills, burpees, beach sessions and lactic vomits. We have been working super hard on our fitness and contact conditioning aspects of the game and the girls are looking red hot for the first round.

With a contact sport you would expect injuries and unfortunately, we have quite a few at the moment. Sammie Treherne is out due to fracturing her Lisfranc, Emma Sykes after having surgery on her sesamoid and myself after breaking my collarbone again a couple of weeks ago.

We also have a couple girls who are on their way out of rehab and will hopefully be playing soon. But most excitingly we have someone on debut! Maddie Ashby is one of the newer members coming into the wider squad just last season and has been working super hard. She will have the honour of pulling on the green and gold jersey this week alongside 11 other girls who I have no doubt will do the whole country proud.

Tough challenge awaits

Looking at our pool we will face Spain, Fiji and Canada in three tough games on day one. After a bit of a rough start last season in Glendale we are definitely looking to come out strong in this first tournament and set a good platform for ourselves to build on.

It will be very exciting to see all the teams come back after a bit of a break and see how they line up and what’s changed.

Between the Rugby World Cup in Japan and the sevens in Glendale rugby fans have their weekend sorted. One of them just has much friendlier game times … but who doesn’t love waking up at all hours of the night to watch sevens!

Jokes aside I can’t wait to watch both the Wallabies and even more so, my team-mates rip in this weekend.

This is going to be one hell of year, certainly the biggest of my sevens career and I couldn’t be more ready or excited! Ready, of course, pending the recovery of my collarbone.

“It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant