Only a few hours remain. The first match of Olympic Rugby. Spain versus France, Saturday at 11am.
On Saturday the 6th of August 2016 history at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will be made as the first ever match of Rugby 7s kicks off at 11 o’clock in the morning.
What goes through your head hours before a match unlike any other?
We have spent years preparing ourselves for this. We have trained so much that now the time has has arrived, the challenge is all mental. Hours before such an important match, on a personal level, a sporting level, an international level and a historic level, all I can think of is to concentrate on the task. Experience has taught me that there are variables that are out of our control: like, how the referees will act, the weather conditions, the opponent and their actions, ... the result. The only thing, really the only thing we can control is what we do every moment after we step out on to the pitch. The objective? To focus on the task. I want to do what I have to do at all times. I'll do it the best way I can and know how.
When you're playing you have nothing to lose, absolutely nothing, you play point by point. You never know what could happen in a game of Sevens, you can’t control anything around you, the only thing you have control of is your own concentration. Focus on the task. I will do what I have to do and I will do it in the best way possible.
The Olympic Qualifier in Dublin was a key part on our road to Rio. We didn't just qualify to compete in the Olympic Games, but the team experienced major mental growth. It does not matter who you face. Focus on the task. Mental control, absolute concentration in what I want to do. That pass, that decision, that kick, that tackle. The help, the support of my teammate, the strategic decision making. Mental control will help me play my best game. We did it in Dublin. Our best game, our concentration is what made us regular competitors and got us this place in the Olympics. We qualified, but all of this was a direct result of something fundamental. Focus on the task. Enjoy giving the maximum of what you have to give at the time, if you can give 200% don’t settle for 150%.
Spain versus France. Saturday 11am
We will compete. It’s sport, there are variables that we can’t control. The first three games. France, New Zealand and Kenya. We know them, we have played them before and beaten them all. What’s the difference between one match and the other? Focus on the task. We can do it if we focus on each action. The objective is very clear, the results come only after the job is done with maximum intensity.
I think about kicking. It’s a very special moment in the game for me, it’s an opportunity to fulfil one of my roles within the team. At the moment I step up to take the kick, I never think about messing up or failing. The result will take care of itself, all I can do is control the process so everything goes to perfection. The boot. Feeling where I will strike the ball with the instep of my foot. The strength of my supporting leg, transmitting all of the power into the ball. The direction of my kicking leg and arm; where they point, the ball goes. The time; how long is left in the match, how are we doing, how much time do I take for the kick. There are thousands of external factors, but all I can do is concentrate on every moment, every motion, every action. Focus on the task. Feel the ground, feel the force. Deep breath.
Spain versus France. Saturday 11am