Friend knows he is under pressure if results don't come at Sydney Sevens

Australia's sevens coach Andy Friend knows he is under pressure to deliver results at this weekend's Sydney Sevens and has urged his players to "chill" before the three-day tournament.

Unlike Australia's women, who finished a disappointing fourth at last year's instalment less than six months after winning gold in Rio, the men's fourth-placing in 2017 exceeded expectations given the average age of the squad.

Twelve months later, however, there have been few highlights. Coaches regularly talk about transition periods between big events - in this instance, Olympic Games - and now is the time for Australia's men to fulfil the potential we have heard about so many times.

It has been nearly six years since Australia last won a World Series tournament and if the hosts are unable to make it out of their pool against USA, Canada and Scotland, Friend knows questions will be asked.

"I've expressed my desire to stay with this team but I'm fully aware I'm in an environment that demands results," Friend said. "This team hasn't won a World Series tournament or a Commonwealth Games or a World Cup since 2012. We need to get wins ... we're very aware of that.

"Every time we go out there for a tournament, we're trying to do that. If it happens: fantastic. If it doesn't, other powers to be will sort that out."

Friend is as calm a coach as they come, hence why is it no surprise he has imparted a mantra of relaxing as much as possible ahead of the tournament, which kicks off on Friday at Allianz Stadium.

Outside of this week and other major tournaments, the sevens teams get far less coverage and scrutiny from the rugby public.

This week is different. There are expectations - internally and externally - that need to be managed and Friend is a believer that staying composed is a recipe for success in the pressure-cooker environment of a home tournament.

"We've got a theme for the week which is to chill," Friend said. "Just soak it all up and relax and trust what we've been doing. We've been training hard now since July last year, so this week is not about adding more pressure to the boys. It's about letting them enjoy the moment, back their skills, back their ability, get soaked up in the whole vibe of Sydney and what the crowd is doing for them and do the best they can.

"The expectation is always to win. We said at the start of the year there were three big tournaments; this one into Commonwealth Games into World Cup, so it is really important for us to do well and hopefully we do win that Cup."

On Friday, Australia take on the USA, a side they have struggled against in recent years. Last year in Las Vegas, the USA finished third in what was their equal-best showing during the World Series.

They know the value of a home-crowd advantage and their coach, Mike Friday, is prepared for a tough match-up, given the fixture between the two sides falls on Australia Day.

"That's another thing that will no doubt be fuelling them," Friday said. "Australia always have the ability to raise their game at home. We know that if we can impose our game on them we can put them under pressure.

"They were outstanding here last year and no one gave them a hope and a prayer and they were unlucky to not get to the final. I think Andy Friend is doing a fantastic job with great resources and great young men."

This story Friend knows he is under pressure if results don't come at Sydney Sevens first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.