Thursday 8th December 2005
Luke Narraway is used to a noisy crowd. Having played several times for Gloucester this season in front of a packed shed the 30,000 noisy crowd in Dubai didn't intimidate him. In fact he is relishing the experience of representing England at sevens and can't wait for tomorrow's Emirates Airline South Africa Sevens to begin, "Sevens has been good for me so far. I enjoyed playing in Gloucester's win in the Middlesex Sevens and am really enjoying being away with the England Sevens squad. I enjoy that it is so different from your club training and being with a new set of players. Winning the tournament last week in Dubai was one, if not the, highlight of my rugby career so far. It is something I will never forget however long I play. The crowd were amazing and really gave me a buzz."
Narraway wasn't sure what to expect from the IRB Sevens - a series of eight tournaments around the world - but soon realised how tough and competitive a series it is. " Playing for your country is always going to be professional and all the players give 110% but these sevens tournaments are taken very seriously and everyone wants to win. Since winning in Dubai the pressure is really on us to win again this weekend and we know all the other teams are waiting to knock us down."
England won the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens for the second successive year and Narraway found the conditions slightly different to those he was used to back in Gloucester, "It was 30 degrees every day and I really struggled in the first couple of matches. You just can't catch your breath and feel so tired. But at the same time, the second the hooter went in the final you just feel pure elation. There is such a good atmosphere amongst the squad and we all played for each other so it was such an amazing feeling to have won."
With the addition of James Bailey to the squad in South Africa, almost half the squad are from Gloucester. Luke enjoys the banter with the other Kingsholm lads, "Obviously we all know each other quite well but the other seven players in the squad are top lads too so we all mix with each other. Everyone is very tight together and there is lots of banter amongst the squad - most of it aimed at Northampton Saints Andy Vilk!"
England World Cup winner Dan Luger has also recently joined the squad and Luke is enjoying rooming with a player who he grew up admiring, "When I was younger, Dan was in the England side and he was known as the great finisher he still is. I am excited to be rooming with him as he is a top bloke and its good to have him on board. "
Luke is an ambitious player who is looking forward to hopefully being involved in further England Sevens tournaments in the future, "From a club point of view I am realy looking to break into the Gloucester first team this season. I have had a couple of apperances and really want to build on that and establish myself in the XVs. From a sevens point of I am really enjoying being part of this squad and finding it a great learning experience. Hopefully I will get to play a few more tournaments, win a few more titles and I am particularly hoping to be selected for the Commonwealth Games in March."
Luke plays for England in the Emirates Airline South Africa Sevens which begins tomorrow (Friday 9th December).