Sevens gold medals years in the making

By James Perry

Avenging their respective losses at the Rio Olympics two years ago was motivation for the women's and the men's sevens sides on the Gold Coast. 

"Obviously the heartbreak in Rio, the girls were gutted and ever since then we've wanted to come here and come back and get the gold.  So to get that and overcome what we have in the last few weeks is special," says try-scoring hero Kelly Brazier.

Men's co-captain Tim Mikkelson says, "It was pretty disappointing- well, hugely disappointing- to lose in Rio.  A lot of the guys who are in this team were in that team, so when we talked before the weekend we were like 'we have to step up. Pressure is on us, but we really want to win this. We know we can, we just have to go out and execute'".

It isn't by chance that both the men's and women's sides were successful on the Gold Coast.

The two sides train with and against each other at their Mount Maunganui base, something men's coach Clark Laidlaw believes is unique around the world.

While winning Commonwealth Gold is an achievement in itself, Laidlaw also says it is only a stepping stone for bigger things to come. 

"We're trying to build toward 2020 obviously," says Laidlaw, "But this was the first pinnacle event.  We both tried to peak here, both teams. And we've managed to do it".

Niall Williams says the shared training sessions motivate both teams to work harder. 

"We would sit down, and obviously the end goal was always for both of us to win gold. And to come here and get both done- it is unbelievable.  And it's a credit to them and a credit to us and the hard work.  We see them grinding every day, and they see us." she says.

The attention of both sides now turns to the remainder of the world series, the women in Japan this weekend, the men in Singapore next weekend. 

The two sides also hope to emulate their success on the Gold Coast at the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco in July.