Sevens star Charlotte Caslick’s hunger for a second Olympic gold has only grown with the team’s recent near-misses.
Rugby sevens star Charlotte Caslick’s hunger for a second Olympic gold medal has only grown with the team’s recent near-misses at major tournaments.
“We definitely talk about it, and we’ve been made very well aware that the stats on teams going back-to-back is really rare,” Caslick told Wide World of Sports at the launch for Australia’s Olympic uniforms in Sydney.
“We have a lot of belief within ourselves that we can do it. We haven’t won a tournament since 2018 so it’d be nice to break that drought.”
That last success came at the 2018 World Sevens leg in Sydney, and although they failed to win any of the last three events they were crowned overall series winner at the end of the season.
However, silver at the Commonwealth Games in April and bronze at July’s World Cup in that same year will no doubt provide extra motivation to re-join the winner’s circle.
And although most of her team have been without any competitive action for over a year, Caslick did get a brief taste of top-level sport when she suited up for the Sydney Roosters in last season’s edition of the NRLW.
“It was really fun, just to mentally freshen up and get my mind off everything else in my world that was crashing down at that stage,” she said.
A spinal injury prematurely ended her season for the Chooks, but she said she’s carrying no niggles as the Olympics draws closer.
“I’m great. I feel probably the fittest, fastest and most powerful I’ve been in probably four years.”
Caslick said she’ll make a decision on whether or not to resume her rugby league career this season before she leaves for Tokyo, so that she can give the Olympics her full focus.
“Training was pretty chill, the girls were great – I loved it. I’m not sure how it would work when we get back, it depends if it aligns with the season,” Caslick said.
“We’ll obviously only have 12 months until the Commonwealth Games as well.”
The 2016 World Player of the Year will return to the sevens field for the first time in more than a year in the next round of the Uni 7s competition, but due to coronavirus restrictions may be re-allocated to a different team.
“I was meant to be playing for Bond Uni, but we’re definitely playing. I think it’ll be a pretty strong competition because there’ll be at least two girls [from the national team] in each team.”
The opening round was played last weekend, with Caslick and her fellow national team players to link up with their respective teams for the second round on April 10-11.
The cancellation of the sevens circuit in 2020 forced players to find other ways to stay fit and focused. Caslick and her partner Lewis Holland, who plays for the men’s Sevens side, took up a slightly alternative form of physical activity.
“Lewis and I have a cattle farm in Queensland – so we actually spent a lot of time up there. We never get to spend long periods of time working up there so it was nice that we had something to go back to,” she said.
“Life on the land doesn’t stop, ever … we were probably doing less training and more cattle work and fencing – which is good for your mental toughness, I think.”
Staying fit is one thing, and you never really lose your talent – Caslick said the key in the lead-up would be team chemistry.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries and changes within our squad and our group – our Rio team was so natural together, we’d played together for so long … we’ve had to make that process a little bit faster this time with some of the younger girls coming through, but they’ve also got those combinations with each other,” she said, adding the new squad was “a really special group”.
“[The new players] are extremely gifted, so if we do nail the tactical side and the combinations and everything, we’re going to be hard to stop.”
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