2015 is set to be a transformational year for English Rugby. The Rugby World Cup will be staged over 48 games, in 13 venues and is set to be a memorable occasion in the history of the sport.
England Sevens captain, Tom Mitchell, believes that 2015 presents the biggest year for English rugby and is looking forward to the World Cup and the opportunities is provides.
“It’s a huge year. It’s going to generate massive interest for the game and hopefully some people will get involved in the game that haven’t been before.”
England suffered heartbreak at this year’s RBS 6 Nations tournament, narrowly missing out on the title to Ireland. However, Mitchell believes that this will only drive on the England team:
“They showed a lot of moments of brilliance at the Six Nations and they will be able to take a lot of confidence into the World Cup. The players will work hard now to get into the team and to win. We’ve got a good chance and there’s a lot of belief. The Rugby World Cup is definitely going to be the highlight of the year for England and I think everyone is looking forward to it the most.
“I think having a home crowd is a huge boost. In recent years, the home crowd has really shown what it can do and as an England player I have a huge amount of pride every time I get to wear the shirt.”
Whilst discussing the importance of the English crowd, Mitchell discusses the England Sevens current season, his hopes and expectations.
“We are really looking forward to playing in front of the home support, it’s always a great honour especially to play the Marriott London Sevens in front of the home crowd.
“It’s been a mixed season for us, we started well but then dropped off for a couple of tournaments. We worked really hard coming into the New Year and have had a few good results since. So the win in Tokyo (Round 7 of HSBC Sevens World Series) is a testament to the hard work we have put in as a group and it’s a credit to the players and the management team.
“Hopefully we will carry on from that success and take it into the next tournament and into London. We hope to finish strong and are looking forward to the last few legs.”
It’s an exciting year for the England Sevens team and the excitement generated by the build up to the World Cup inspires further interest in the sport as the whole.
“I think it’s really important for this World Cup to provide youngsters opportunities to get involved in the game. As professionals we probably take advantage of and don’t fully appreciate the brilliant experiences we have had from the game. I think if we can introduce more people into the sport, we will be better for it and will be able to enable others to enjoy those wonderful experiences.”
Reflecting on how the sport has grown and continues to expand, Mitchell believes that English rugby is able to work together to grow all forms of the game.
“Since its inclusion in the Olympics, interest in sevens has grown massively and we are seeing a huge amount of interest globally and that’s great for the sport. The benefits work both ways, for the 15s guys and the 7s, as a whole the sport is growing.”
Mitchell has been a part of the England Sevens team since 2012 and has fond memories of a variety of tournaments, including the Commonwealth Games last year in Glasgow.
“My initial highlight of Glasgow 2014 was arriving in the village and getting immersed amongst the other members of Team England and literally rubbing shoulders with them in camp.
“Being a part of Team England, we were exposed to a new way of doing things. It was a really professional environment and we were able to learn from other athletes and how they prepare but we were also able to learn how other teams operated. It was a fantastic experience.”
Tom Mitchell and his England Sevens team will be competing in the Marriott London Sevens, at Twickenham on 16-17 May 2015. For tickets and more info, visit…