French calls for consistency

30 July 2012 / 15:29

Nathan French wants his Great Britain volleyball team-mates to work on ironing out their inconsistencies before chasing a maiden Olympic win against Australia on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old was one of Britain's stand-out performers in a 3-0 defeat to Bulgaria, with he and Mark Plotyczer being the two main protagonists in going toe-to-toe with the world number nines.

Both returned impressive statistics - French in reception and Plotyczer at the net - but were short of support from the rest of Harry Brokking's squad as they produced a hit-and-miss display on their Games bow.

An Ashes battle with Australia in Tuesday's session hands them an immediate chance to respond, though, and French wants them to learn from their mistakes.

"I was gutted after Bulgaria, I really was," the Chelmsford-born player said.

"I thought we were going to take the third set from them and I think the thousands watching thought so too. What it means is we have shown we can compete with the rest of the world. Maybe Bulgaria were more experienced than us because I think we need to perform for longer.

"When we compete well, we were excellent, but there were too many peaks and troughs."

One area that will need desperate attention is the serve.

Britain made a number of crucial errors with ball in-hand yesterday, in particular Mark McGivern's long delivery when the third set was locked at 24-24.

"It's obviously really important to keep your serves in. There were crucial moments where we made a few little errors," French added.

"But it was the first game, we set out to try and scrape a win off them but on to the next one now."

Although they will not publicly admit to wanting it, the hosts will have more margin for error against Australia.

The Volleyroos headed to the capital with a similar wealth of top-level experience - at least in the current guise - and displayed similar inconsistencies in their 3-0 defeat to Argentina.

A big and strong side, accuracy at the net is not their strong point, although they do have it in their arsenal to be able to put long runs of points together when their systems click in to place.

Playing in such an inconsistent nature is something GB can also be guilty of - go-to man Dami Bakare melted down midway through the third set yesterday - and according to captain Ben Pipes, it stems from not being schooled in the sport.

"Once we found our rhythm our reception was good and we need more games against these teams to improve more," he said.

"The difference between us and the top teams is the culture. Their upbringing in volleyball allows them to stay at that level for longer. But when the cogs click together, we're really a machine and we have to wait for everything to line up."