- Forward excited about returning to the fray on the Gold Coast
- “People are liars if they say they are aiming for second place” – Cracknell
Chris Cracknell is determined to return from a year of injury hell in the most resounding way possible – by helping England Sevens towards a winning HSBC Sevens World Series.
Cracknell is currently on the Australian Gold Coast, where Simon Amor’s charges will start their new campaign on Saturday, drawn in Pool B alongside South Africa, France and Spain.
And having fully recovered from the serious knee injury he suffered on the opening day of the corresponding tournament 12 months ago, the 29 year-old is eager to return to the fray.
“I’ve likened it in my head to having a sabbatical,” he explained. “I can’t dwell on it and I can’t look at it as a bad thing – I can only look forward and take the positives from the situation.
“Injuries happen in sport, especially at the level we’re playing at. I’ve put it to bed now. It’s been a tough 12 months, but a 12 months that will make me better and stronger as a person.
“I’m looking at being around for a long time yet. I don’t see myself giving up the ghost anytime soon and now I am just looking forward to getting on with the season.”
Acknowledging the support of family and friends – as well as teammates – during his spell on the sidelines, Cracknell admitted that his pre-season schedule had been especially arduous following such a significant lay-off.
However, the former captain and veteran of 29 tournaments also insisted the thrill of representing his country was well worth the monotony of rehabilitation and the inconvenience of a long-haul flight.
Photo: Getty Images
He added: “I wasn't looking forward to sitting on a plane for 24 hours, but I know I’m going to be pulling on an England jersey – you can’t fully explain how amazing that feeling is.
“It’s a fantastic thing to be able to do for a job and we are very lucky. I am immensely proud of what I do.”
Looking back on a rather underwhelming final year under Ben Ryan as a whole – which saw a sole victory at the Wellington leg on the way to sixth place on the final rankings ladder – Cracknell was equally optimistic.
Pinpointing a strong finish to the Series, including two third-place finishes and a final berth at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, he set very high standards for England, who are newly sponsored by Heathrow Express.
“We ended well last year and although we didn’t get the result we wanted to at the World Cup, it isn’t a bad foundation to have in terms of building.
“As long as we do that now and grow from here, we won’t be in a bad place – that’s down to us as players to drive our standards towards where we want to be and up to Simon to monitor that.
“People are liars if they say they are aiming for second place. I am only here for one thing – to win the World Series, the Commonwealth Games and as many tournaments as I can.”