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Mitchell hails teammates after clinching RPA award

22 May 2014

  • Mitchell voted HSBC England Sevens Player of the Year
  • Skipper sets sights on Glasgow
Tom Mitchell

Photo: Getty Images

England Sevens captain Tom Mitchell praised his teammates and the collective mentality of Simon Amor’s set-up after scooping the HSBC England Sevens Player of the Year award at RPA Awards Dinner.

Mitchell, who skippered his side since the Las Vegas leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series back in December, topped the point-scoring list across the entire campaign, bagging 358 in total – including 33 tries.

That haul, as well some astute leadership of a young outfit, brought him a nomination for the IRB Sevens Player of the Year, and though he missed out on that gong to prolific Fijian Samisoni Viriviri, Mitchell was a deserved winner last night.

While clearly touched and humbled to clinch an honour voted for by his teammates, the 24 year-old quickly paid tribute to his fellow nominees – Mike Ellery, James Rodwell and Dan Bibby.

“The praise you always want as a player is the type that comes from your teammates, so this is a massive honour.” he said. “It’s been an absolute privilege to play with this group of guys, so it’s very nice to be recognised by them.

“The other nominees had great seasons and there were others that did too who weren’t nominated. Rodders is incredibly experienced and I’ve learned so much from him.

“That’s the nature of things in our camp – we help each other along and help them get better. That’s how we get success and it goes from Rodders being my first roommate right through to Bibby helping out with extra tackling practice.”

Looking back on the Series as a whole, Mitchell outlined his pride in the way a young squad has developed, citing hard-fought wins over France and Wales at the London Marriott Sevens tournament as proof of marked progress.

Turning his attention to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this summer, he then stressed that England would be fiercely focussed on putting those lessons into practice.

“We’ll be in on Monday for full training and we’ll have a look at how things have gone. Simon will have a detailed breakdown of where we need to get better. We’ll also get back to our blocks of training in terms of gym, fitness work and honing skills, so we’ll look to get some gain there.

“We want to get a medal in Glasgow. We’ve been inside the top four for most of the series and that’s good to know heading into the Commonwealths.

“Equally, there will be no prize for fourth place. In those crunch games, we’ll have to stick to our guns. We’re confident of doing well up there in what is essentially another home tournament.”