England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan reports on the build up to the Marriott London Sevens, the final event of this season's HSBC Sevens World Series LAST stop London! After 75,000 miles clocked up travelling around the globe, our final destination in the HSBC Sevens World Series this year for the first time ever is Twickenham Stadium and the Marriott London Sevens.
England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan reports on the build up to the Marriott London Sevens, the final event of this season's HSBC Sevens World Series
LAST stop London! After 75,000 miles clocked up travelling around the globe, our final destination in the HSBC Sevens World Series this year for the first time ever is Twickenham Stadium and the Marriott London Sevens.
I can tell you it was a dream to just have a short flight from Glasgow to London as it’s not uncommon for us to cross multitudes of time zones as we move from one venue to another. I think as a result this weekend you will see a lot of energy from all the teams on the pitch as they can use the time this week to recharge and get ready for 100,000-plus supporters this weekend in the finale of the series.
Last weekend was a big step in the direction of travel for this team and England Sevens. We have always wanted to play a fast attacking style but it has taken time to really hit its straps. It’s not a quick fix and it takes time to put in this sort of cultural model into play.
I guess we put down a major marker of how determined we are to play this way by our approach in extra-time in the semi final against Fiji.
We caught the ball off our own kick off and then went 18 passes, one ruck, about 40 metres backwards and across the width of the field three times before finding the space to exploit and score the winning try.
I was so pleased to see all the hours of practice pay off and it was even better it was tested under the duress of extra time against such a fantastic team like Fiji.
The final felt like one that got away and with around 90 seconds left and 19-14 down against New Zealand we felt all we needed was to get hold of the ball and our attack would grab the decisive winner.
Alas, we were penalised near our line and effectively with it the game was over and our chance gone. Yes, we had three tough games against Australia, South Africa and Fiji in the run to the final but we felt fresh and ready for the battle.
So, we left disappointed but also quietly pleased now we know that our style is bedded in and as more games are played the confidence will grow and we will improve more and more.
It’s been the first time we have also had a group playing that we know are in the programme next year as well, so collectively everyone is driving hard in the same direction. It is a hugely exciting time and I’m sure we will inevitably hit some choppy waters this weekend and in the future but the progress the lads have made has been brilliant and I’m so proud of their efforts.
So, to this weekend and our chances. New Zealand will be desperate to win the series in style and Fiji will want to remind everyone just how good they have been this year.
Samoa, I felt, played some superb stuff in Scotland and they too will be keen to take out another tournament. Wales also continued all their huge strides this year and have really become a fantastic side under Paul John. I think all the European sides will have a good showing in the final event. I also hope you can see how well i have side-stepped my own question!
I’m sure our team will be doing just the same against opposing players as they play at full throttle this weekend, dodging and weaving their way forward.
The team this year have been incredibly hard-working in wanting to get better and they are a huge credit on and off the field to England Rugby.
They play their socks off for their country and that’s all I ask this weekend. I’m sure as the tournament goes on, I’ll turn more and more from coach into a fan as I let them go out onto the Twickenham turf and just go for it. Come on England!