AUSTRALIAN Sevens star Lewis Holland says the prospect of representing his country at the 2016 Olympics could keep him from making a full-time switch to the 15-a-side code.
Holland has only recently returned from representing Australia at the Under-20s World Championships in South Africa where he played just 10 minutes before being cut down by a hamstring injury.
The Queanbeyan Whites flyer has excelled in the 15-a-side form of the game throughout the junior ranks but over the past year has also become a fixture in Australia’s Rugby Sevens line-up.
Rugby Sevens was recently included on the Olympic program and will feature for the first time at the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro.
A former Australian Schoolboys representative, Holland is long-term member of the Australian Rugby Union’s National Talent Squad.
His impressive credentials mean the 19-year-old would be well positioned to force his way into the ACT Brumbies senior program in the coming years should he prioritize the traditional form of the game.
But Holland said the lure of representing Australia on the Olympic stage would play a major role in determining which rugby path he decides to follow.
“With sevens being an Olympic sport now, 2016 is only four years away and that time will fly by if I stick with it,” Holland says of his longer term aspirations. “I’ll still only be 23 [in Rio] which is when most players are hitting their peak but I’ve still got plenty of time under my belt to make the right decisions.”
Holland was Australia’s flag bearer at last year’s Youth Commonwealth Games while also captaining the green and gold to a bronze medal at the tournament.
“At the moment I’m just enjoying sevens but at the same time I’ve had a bit of a taste of 15s recently as well and realized that I had missed it…so I’m not too sure what the future holds.
“Everything will happen in good time. If I get an offer [in 15-a-side rugby] I’d look at it but time will tell.”
Holland meanwhile, is confident he can return to full fitness despite tearing his troublesome hamstring for a third time during Australia’s recent Under-20s World Championships campaign.
The versatile outside back was forced to make an early return home from the championships after suffering the injury 10 minutes into his first game against France.
Holland tore the same hamstring while playing in Scotland two weeks prior to the tournament but had been passed fit to take the field for Australia’s under-20s outfit.
“After I tore it in Scotland I came back home and got scans and it was only classified as a grade one tear so I still travelled over to South Africa,” Holland said.
“I finished all the rehab but I guess I went in against France without my body being 100 per cent and it went again within the first half.”
The injury will limit Holland’s opportunities with the Whites this season after he missed most of the club’s campaign last year due to representative commitments.
But the Braidwood resident said he wouldn’t be rushing his return from his latest injury setback.
“When I’ve torn it before, both times it’s been during the season and I’ve had a deadline to try to meet in terms of getting back on the field,” Holland said.
“They say you need four weeks for it to heal properly and I’ve returned right on four weeks each time so I’ve been pushing the boundaries.
“In saying that there were no signs it would go again [in South Africa]. Now they’ve given me 12 weeks to get it right and that should work out a lot better.
"I think my body just needs a little bit of a rest at the moment.”
Holland will instead turn his focus to preparing for Australia’s upcoming Rugby Sevens season which will kick off later this year.