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20th Feb 2024

Vikki Wall explains difference between Sevens Rugby and GAA running training

Niall McIntyre

Vikki Wall is content with how her sevens dream is developing, slowly but surely.

After an understandably difficult start, an introduction that demanded patience she never knew she had, the Meath woman says that now, six months in, ‘things are starting to click.

She wouldn’t quite say she’s ‘mastered it,’ but she’s glad that ‘things are moving in the right direction anyway.’

The 25-year-old admits in an interview with The GAA Hour that it was daunting initially, coming into a team with the Olympics on their mind but they’ve been welcoming and her past experience in both Gaelic football and the AFLW has stood to her.

“You have to be patient,” admits Lucozade sport athlete Wall.

“Patience isn’t something I’d be hugely blessed with but it stood to me that I had the experience in adapting to a new team in the AFLW too.

“You’re not naive to the fact that it’s an Olympic year,” she adds.

“People have been there for many years and I’m a new face that has never played the sport.

“So I wasn’t expected to be handed anything.

“But the girls have actually been unbelievable, so welcoming. And you can see why they’ve had the success they’ve had in qualifying for the Olympics.”

Having played for Ireland in Perth in their historic first HSBC SVNS tournament victory recently, Wall’s dream is to make the squad for the Paris Olympics this summer.

Having first made her name as a ladies footballer for Dunboyne and then for Meath, she then moved to the AFLW where she had a blistering first campaign with North Melbourne, scoring six goals in 13 appearances.

So what is the difference between training for ladies football, training for AFLW and training for sevens rugby.

“You’re not working full-time every week.

“So the time you have to recover and the time you have to focus on different skills and the time to sit down with the manager and go through things, that’s second to none and it makes a huge difference.

“In GAA, you’re preparing for one game at the weekend, and then you’ve a few days to come down after that. In Sevens, it’s fairly quick-fire. The next game could be in two or three hours so you have to get ready fast.”

Wall compares a game of sevens rugby to the infamous ‘square of death drill in the GAA,’ and says that the training can involve more drops and jumps and virtually, more chaos.

“Everyone is probably aware of those squares of death drills in the GAA, where you’re 1 v 1 in the middle just fighting for the ball. It’s basically that for fourteen minutes straight!

“If you get a score, you’ve time to re-set in the GAA, or if the ball is in defence, you can get a break. This is more full-on, it’s one-on-one, so your speed of thought has to quicken.

“The training would be different.

“Just take a running session that we’d have to do ourselves. In the GAA we’d be probably be used to running and turning just.

“But there’d be a load of up-downs, and on the lines in the rugby, your reaction to being on the ground and then getting up as quick as possible.

“But not just getting up off the ground, trying to get into a line of defence to make your next tackle straight away.”

That being said, she knows enough about GAA pre-seasons not to say that rugby players have it any harder.

“When the GAA girls are still doing their running with Eugene Ivers, I certainly wouldn’t be saying they have it easy now,’ says the two-time All-Ireland winner.

The full interview will be on The GAA Hour in the coming days.

Pictured at the Aviva Stadium, is Ireland Women’s Sevens Player, Vikki Wall as she was unveiled as the newest Lucozade Sport Athlete. 

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