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VIDEO - Chris Cracknell on the turning point for England Sevens

02 February 2012

  • England four points off lead going into Hertz Sevens
  • Cracknell - "Winning's a contagious behaviour"

Chris Cracknell tells RFUTV how a past win in Wellington was the trigger that inspired the current generation of England Sevens players to move forwards and develop their game.

England face South Africa, the USA and the Cook Islands in Friday's pool stage at the Hertz Sevens in New Zealand.

This season's Dubai champions trail joint leaders Fiji and New Zealand by just four points after three legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

And England should be energised by their return to the Westpac Stadium where they famously overturned a 17-0 deficit to beat New Zealand 19-17 in the 2009 final.

"Winning's a contagious behaviour and it's good to have guys who have that experience behind them," said Cracknell.

Of the current squad, Rob Vickerman, Isoa Damudamu, Dan Norton and James Rodwell all featured in that Wellington tournament.

"It was a jumping up and down, man-hugging, memorable experience!" said Cracknell. "It's been a long journey since then but definitely a stepping stone for the way we've developed as a sevens nation."

Cracknell believes England are on an upward curve and the measured expansion of their full-time programme is driving higher standards and greater competition within the squad.

"We're now able to go seven on seven and have guys on the side of the field in training," he said. "It's giving us more competition for places and with what we're doing in terms of conditioning it's making life hard for [head coach] Ben Ryan and [assistant coach] Russell Earnshaw."