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Thread: Stannard delivers with Sevens

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    Stannard delivers with Sevens

    Stannard delivers with Sevens

    Jay Buchan | 11th September 2010





    Photo: Rob Williams


    THE darkest hour is just before the dawn.


    So it proved when James Stannard (pictured) was at his lowest ebb as a professional rugby player while with the ACT Brumbies last year.


    “I wasn’t getting any game time or I was on the bench and getting 10 minutes,” the Australian Commonwealth Games rugby sevens player told the QT.


    “Towards the end it was really hard to get up and go to training.”


    He was left behind when the Brumbies toured South Africa last year, but his disappointment was to turn into his salvation.


    Because he was still in Canberra, he was asked to help the Australian Sevens team in training.


    “The Brumbies sent me down to fill in and give them some opposition,” Karalee-based Stannard said.


    “I just grabbed the ball and ran it when I could.


    “I don’t play like that now, I’d get in trouble. But I guess they saw some potential.
    “After training, Snoz (Australian Sevens coach Michael O’Connor) said ‘do you want to play sevens if you don’t get a contract next year’.”


    Stannard was released by the Brumbies at the end of the 2009 season, joined the Australian Sevens team and has been an integral part since.


    When captain Pat McCutcheon was absent at times this year, Stannard took over the captaincy, leading the team to victory in the London Sevens tournament.


    Stannard’s sevens ability was as much a surprise to him as anyone else.


    “You’ve got to be a lot fitter,” he said of the requirements for rugby’s shorter version, in which teams field seven players a side and play seven minute halves.


    “There is nowhere to hide on the field.


    “You’ve got to work more as a team and defence is the biggest part of it.


    “It is seven minutes of intensity with no breaks.


    “There’s not many slow blokes playing.”


    While he was in the doldrums before his sevens call-up, at no stage did Stannard consider giving up his professional rugby ambitions.


    “It would suck to wake up and have to go to a job you don’t like to do,” he said.
    It was that thought that inspired Stannard to try his hand at becoming a professional rugby player in the first place.


    After being converted from league to union at St Edmund’s College, Stannard was playing for Brisbane Souths at about the time the Western Force were starting life as a Super 14 franchise.


    A Force scout asked him if he wanted to move to Perth to try and break into the Western Australia Rugby Academy as a potential pathway to the Force.


    At first he wasn’t keen but soon after, while plying his trade as a boiler maker, he changed his mind.


    “I was at work one day and I thought ‘stuff this. I don’t want to be like these blokes, doing this all their lives’,” he said.


    Stannard is confident Australia is in with a great shot at a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, next month.


    “We just have to be the fittest and smartest team out there,” he said. “Our attack takes care of itself.


    “If our defence is the best, we’ll win it.”


    Apart from possibly playing in the Dubai Sevens in December, it will be his last hurrah before knuckling down with the Western Force.


    It is in Perth, with his Western Australian girlfriend Kim Cownie, that Stannard plans to settle once his playing days are over.


    So he is hoping his current contract is extended beyond next season.


    “It’s been a bit tough getting just one-year deals and not getting the opportunity to play much, to give myself a chance,” he said.


    “It was a backward step after 2008 with the Force.


    “I should get a bit more of a chance next year.


    “Hopefully I can push for a starting spot.”


    If it doesn’t work out, he’s still not ready to return to boilermaking just yet.


    http://www.qt.com.au/story/2010/09/1...s-with-sevens/

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    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    so basically he's looking to finish his career here?
    all the best to him both in Delhi and for the force!

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    Be interesting to see how he goes this time around and what of the Sevens skill set he can bring to the big show.
    Good luck Chukka

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    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    without a doubt.
    he will hopefully be a lot more agile, explosive from the set piece and ready and willing to take darts through any gaps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jono View Post
    without a doubt.
    he will hopefully be a lot more agile, explosive from the set piece and ready and willing to take darts through any gaps.
    not to mention, more confident in his abilities.

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    C'mon the

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    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    not to mention, more confident in his abilities.
    and a leader

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