Rugby Sevens sensation Jess Breach believes that being picked in the Commonwealth Games squad for the Gold Coast was a milestone achievement and a “goal that many athletes have.”
The 20-year-old winger, who was the youngest member of the Team England squad selected to play at the Gold Coast, admitted that she welcomed the fact she could call on some old heads for advice.
“It’s nice to have people who are older and have a lot of experience in the intense games that have been there before. I learned from them to stay calm and not let the crowd overrule you, just to remain focused on the game.”
Breach was a fundamental part of the Team England side that performed admirably on the Gold Coast, taking back the bronze medal after losing to eventual gold medallists New Zealand in the semi-finals.
“To come away with a bronze medal makes my experience even better, and more memorable when you actually have something at home to look at and to show people!”
The Chichester-born winger and her international teammates will look forward to the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in San Francisco which takes place from the 20th-21st July, where she is hoping for more success.
“It’s a very different structure to how we normally play, it’s a knockout tournament so you have to win every game to go through,” Breach explained. “We obviously need to focus on each game at hand. Our mind-sets will have to shift from the Gold Coast.”
As preparation for the World Cup, the England side recently competed in a Rugby Europe Grand Prix series in Marcoussis, France, where they mixed a young team with a more experienced one in order to give as many players tournament experience as possible.
“It gave us confidence because we pushed the main teams that had their full squads there, which was good. We obviously weren’t as strong, but it was good that we pushed them to a hard game.”
The Harlequins youngster will be hoping to make as big an impact in San Francisco for England as she did on her international debut last year, where she scored an emphatic six tries against Canada and a further five in her second appearance.
“I hadn’t even thought about scoring any tries going in to that game, so it couldn’t have gone any better!”