With confidence buoyed by a third-placed finish at last weekend’s Glasgow Sevens, Rob Vickerman is determined to finish the HSBC Sevens World Series strongly at Twickenham this weekend.
Overall, it has been a disappointing season for Ben Ryan’s side – slipping into the second string bowl competition on six occasions – but captain Vickerman believes the side are showing signs of being able to meet their remaining targets this term.
A first victory at the Marriott London Sevens since 2009 would be a fine achievement in its own right and would provide crucial momentum ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow next month.
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Vickerman pinpointed the team’s collective resolve in Glasgow and said: “We showed a lot of character and as a team that’s what we want to portray. If we can go to somewhere like Scotland where Christian Lewis-Pratt had to kick a winning goal in front of 10,000 booing Scottish fans and come through that, it’s great for the team.”
Lewis-Pratt’s last-gasp three-pointer defeated London Sevens pool opponents Fiji in the Glasgow quarter final, before England slipped to a narrow defeat to South Africa in the last four.
Bouncing back to defeat Wales and claim third left England on a high, which Vickerman believes will be crucial in a Day One pool which also contains Samoa and Argentina.
“The collective theme through last weekend was that we had patches of underperforming but then came back to pull it back in, especially against Wales.
“The game went away from us but we showed lots of character to come through and win. There’s plenty of belief and plenty of confidence, two hugely important things in sevens. And throw that in with a bit of momentum in front of our home fans, 68,000 people at Twickenham is going to be one hell of an atmosphere.”
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Key to England’s hopes in London will be the dancing feet of Dan Norton, who scored his 42nd try of a stellar campaign in Glasgow, the highest total by an Englishman in a world series season.
Vickerman, who shipped the ball out to the flying wing on the day, recalls Norton’s stunning try in the 2009 final with glee and said his contribution this season has been outstanding.
“He’s massive, not just on the pitch, he’s a character off it, too,” he added. “There’s no better sight for me than Dan Norton flying around with a big smile on his face.
“Going back to 2009, that was my abiding memory of that tournament, while we won it, seeing him flying down that wing was a captivating picture. Hopefully we’ll see it again, he’s a sight to behold and his record is a great achievement for him personally but also collectively for us a team.”
Record numbers of tickets have been sold for the safari-themed Marriott London Sevens, with very limited availability for Saturday, May 11. Get your tickets for the Day Two finals on Sunday, May 12 now via RFU.com.