- Confident England keen to continue form from HSBC World Series finale
- Mat Turner urges squadmates to adopt “right mind-set”
An underwhelming sixth-place finish in the HSBC Sevens World Series will be irrelevant this weekend as England set their sights on Rugby World Cup Sevens glory.
Despite taking February’s Wellington leg with a 24-19 win over Kenya, Ben Ryan’s men were languishing in 12th before back-to-back third-place play-off triumphs in Glasgow and London secured their status as the top European team and engendered valuable momentum for the squad.
And England mainstay James Rodwell believes that end-of-season success will be crucial in buoying his side ahead of their Melrose Cup challenge.
“We’ve had a bit on an up-and-down season but we finished on a high with two third-places,” said the 28 year-old. “So we’re going into the World Cup with a bit of momentum.
“The tournament is obviously a one-off but hopefully we can build on those two performances.”
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As a veteran of the 2009 tournament in the United Arab Emirates – won by Wales – Rodwell asserted his intention to improve on a cup quarter-final exit four years ago and highlighted the unpredictable nature of the weekend.
“I played in the last one in Dubai but was very much a bit-part player and didn’t get as much game-time as I wanted. Hopefully this time around, I’ll be on the pitch a little bit more.
“You saw four years ago when the top four seeds got knocked out in the semi finals and Wales went on to win it, which was a bit of a surprise back then.
“It’s just about being consistent over one weekend of rugby and whoever hits their straps normally comes out on top.”
After being drawn alongside Argentina, Portugal and Hong Kong in Pool F, England can be confident of stringing together some wins over the first two days of matches.
Indeed, Rodwell’s fellow squad member Mat Turner reinforced the importance of taking the competition in isolation.
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“As has been shown a few times in the past, it’s not always the best team in the world that wins it in the end,” he added. “It’s the team that’s willing to throw it all out on the pitch.
“What’s going to determine how we do is our mind-set.”
Marcus Watson has been one of Ryan’s stand-out players over the course of the 2012/13 season, and the pacy centre suggested the previous experiences of European Grand Prix action in Russia would stand England in good stead.
“It’s good that the IRB are bringing the game to places like Moscow – last time I was there for a FIRA tournament in 2009 I don’t think many people knew about rugby, but that has changed.
“Our training has gone well and we are just going back over things now because most of us have been together the whole season. We know what we are doing.”