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Ahead of the London Marriott sevens, we went to the media day at twickenham and had the opportunity to throw a ball around with the pros, we caught up with two of the boys after to see how they felt ahead of the home leg...
What’s different about playing in the London leg as opposed to the other IRB tournaments?
Marcus – I think the main thing is that it’s the one place where you can have all your family and friends come and watch you. We do get a bit of home support at other places such as Dubai and Hong Kong but this makes it different when it’s in London and everyone’s supporting England.
Dan – Yeah it’s a big occasion.
And training-wise what are you focusing on in the lead up to these last two legs?
Dan - We’re working a lot on three man plays for those times when we’ve committed a lot to the breakdown and the opposition may have more numbers up than us. When we’ve just got three men out or two men out; what do we do then? We just want to be decisive.
Marcus - It’s more about keeping the ball because we’ve shown in games that we can score tries so it’s more about keeping the ball. Sometimes we go for the miracle off-load and it just doesn’t work so if we can keep to those two/three man plays and keep recycling it and then play again so we can keep the ball and support.
And does your training focus adjust at all for the London leg to cope with the various weather possibilities?
Marcus - Not really to be honest. I think whatever the weather we kind of try and change our game slightly depending on what teams we play but weather’s something that we focus on when it’s there and then. When it comes to training most places are warm so we just try and focus on just trying to throw the ball around.
Dan – You can’t control the weather. In Hong Kong at nine o’clock in the morning it was bright sunshine but by the time we played it was absolutely hammering it down and about three feet of water so you do it more nearer the time rather than in training.
We’ve seen a few new players come in this year. Who do you think has made most impact coming in?
Marcus - Well Phil Burgess has been huge for us getting turnovers and letting us keep balls. I think as Bibbs said it’s a big part of our work focus. We’ve got certain players who can score tries such as Bibby, Tom Mitchel and Dan Norton so I think Phil has made a big impression for us this year.
Do you get many of your family and friends coming down to watch?
Dan. We’ve just put an order in for tickets and I’ve got about 16 people that are all asking me, friends, relatives. Yeah, it’s really nice to have all your friends and family here come watching. It’s hard going round the world, not many families can afford to do that so in London, after each match going over to the stand and saying hi to your mum and dad who’s supported you all your life, it’s really nice for them to be able to watch you in such a big atmosphere.
Will your family and friends be in monster fancy dress?
Marcus – Ha ha. I’ll make sure they are. It might be a bit difficult getting my mum to wear a monster outfit but I’ll do my best.
Which of your team mates would you say most looks like a monster?
Dan - Dan Norton, easy
Marcus. Yeah Dan Norton or James Rodwell.
Dan - Yeah he’s a red monster.
Marcus - Dan Norton yeah. Sticky ears
Dan - Yeah he’s got massive ears, Dan Norton. Mike Ellery as well. He’s got crazy hair. (Alex – Funny. He actually told me about you.) I’m sure he did.
What’s the main ethos of the camp leading up to a tournament?
Marcus – Well it’s a bit different I think for each tournament so for example three man plays was one we focused on hugely in Tokyo. For Hong Kong we continued that but with the emphasis of make sure we keep the ball. As long as we keep the ball we have the players to score so I think for us this tournament is keeping ball in breakdown.
What has Simon Amor introduced to take things up a notch this year?
Dan – At the beginning of the year we sort of stripped things down to basics and started fresh but mainly our defence. If you look at last year as opposed to this year I think in Tokyo we were number one for the defensive record and we’ve really stepped that up this year. We’ve been working really hard on it. A lot more taking on the bodies.
Marcus – And then maybe in attack I think a lot of what we did last year was track the ball. To be honest we had a game plan and stuff but a lot of the time we relied on Dan Norton throwing the ball wide to score us tries and I think now it’s a bit more of a team effort.
Dan – Narrowing up our attack and using our bigger Players
London Sevens is sponsored by Marriott hotels. If you had to buddy up for a night in a hotel with someone in world rugby who would it be, male or female?
Dan – I’d go for Izzy Dagg the New Zealand fullback. Actually no, Honeybadger At the moment, I love it. All those YouTube videos.
Marcus – Danny, you come out with some ridiculous stuff. Probably my brother (Anthony plays for Bath). That would be nice. Two of my brothers.
Do you see yourselves featuring in the squad for the Commonwealth Games in July?
Marcus - Well I hope so. I think both of us will be working our hardest to try and make sure that we cement a place in there. That would be a huge achievement yeah. Well hopefully winning a medal cuz we’re going there for gold alone so it would be huge to be included and win a medal.
Is there any initiation for you after you win your first cap when you play for England?
Marcus - The only thing I can think of is you have to wear your cap the whole time
Dan - Yeah which is pretty annoying cuz you go out afterwards to the team function you’ve got to wear it the whole night and wake up in the morning with it on.
Marcus - Song on the bus? Every fresher has to get up and do a bit of a song on the bus
Dan – And then I think it gets a bit worse as the night goes on but we probably won’t go into that now.
Thanks guys - good luck for the tournament!