- Norton looking for added dimension to all-round game
- Prolific try-scorer aiming to convert efforts into success in Hong Kong
Prolific finisher Dan Norton is working hard to add an extra edge to his game this season.
The England Sevens wing, 25 on the opening day of the Hong Kong tournament, has taken his career try tally to 107 this season.
“The attacking part of the game has always been second nature to me,” said Norton.
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“The other skills haven’t been where I’d have liked and I’ve been working pretty hard with [coach] Russell Earnshaw and some other players over the last few weeks. It’s something I’ve highlighted that I need to improve on and I’ve seen that happen over the last few tournaments.”
He has made so much progress that Head Coach Ben Ryan highlighted a 97 per cent tackle completion rate this week and England’s collective willingness to improve helped get their season going with their tournament win at Wellington last month.
“Overall things clicked pretty well that weekend,” added Norton. “After Christmas we sat down and had a review of how things had been going and defensively we weren’t too strong.
“We wanted to improve our mentality – if you’re playing a contact sport and you’re not mentally in the right position then you’re going to falter – as well as our technique and that paid off at Wellington.”
If you had to pick out one try-scoring highlight in Norton’s career it could well be the length-of-the-field effort against Australia that snatched a quarter-final victory Hong Kong last season. He couldn’t propel England to overall victory, though, as they went down against eventual champions Fiji in the semis. A familiar story.
“We’ve been pretty unlucky, going out in the semi-finals and finals in the last few years,” Norton said.
“For us this year it’s about putting the focus on ourselves, just worrying about what we’re doing and making sure we’re in an A1 position. Get mentality right, get the right intensity and people will be worrying about us.”