sports gazette

EXCLUSIVE: Phil Burgess- Ahead of Singapore, could there be a Masters-esque end?

Published: 12 Apr 2017

Phil Burgess, England Rugby Sevens player and a member of the GB team that won silver at the Rio Olympics, speaks to Sports Gazette about the Singapore Sevens.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was a frustrating tournament.

We comfortably beat South Korea 52-0 in our first game, and then edged out Samoa in a close 12-10 victory. Finishing the group with Australia, we lost by two points 10-12, finishing second in the pool.

The third day saw us lose to both USA 27-7 in the quarter-finals and New Zealand 21-7 in the fifth-place play-offs, both in slightly frustrating circumstances.

We gifted the USA the game and then again didn't capitalise against the New Zealand team, comfortably beaten in both.

In most of the games in the series any team can beat any team, but the USA match, more than any, was probably due to our mistakes gifting them opportunities that they took with both hands and made us pay.

We never really gave ourselves an opportunity after scoring in the first minute - more than that, we didn't get any other opportunities.

I think it was a bruising Hong Kong, plus losing three players to injury is never nice.

Despite this, the feeling within the camp is one of excitement about getting to play again and having some new players in the mix will be good for new and different combinations!

Also, the support for all the home nations in Hong Kong was great! A sell-out crowd for the whole weekend made for a great atmosphere and knowing that there were even more local fans supporting us was fantastic.

Dan Norton and the future of sevens

It was great to see Dan claim his record try against South Korea, taking the top try-scorer in sevens throne!

This will hopefully give the game, especially sevens, more media attention and press. Also, it will encourage players to get involved in a sport that is very inclusive and exciting.

The sport as a whole is in a position where I think it is looking for the most amount of media exposure and also increasing the number of fans and players involved with the game.

Post-Olympics the sport was in a great place - it’s just a case of trying to build on that for the future.

With England and Fiji both still in the chase of South Africa in this World Series, we could yet see a draw come the final round at Twickenham.

Singapore

I have never been to Singapore, so I'm looking forward to seeing the city, stadium and all that goes with it... including the 30-degree heat! 

We’ve got a tough group to face though, made up of Australia, France and Japan.

Yes, hosting the series leaders will be a great test, as will playing the French who have been unlucky a couple of times this season.

Finishing with the Japanese, who are growing each tournament and looking to make massive improvements, will be a challenge as well.

A Masters-esque end to the World Series?

What a great result for Sergio!

To play for so many years and never win a major must have been incredibly frustrating for a player of his calibre but to finally knock out his first major was incredible.

He did try his best to fall at the final hurdle but held it together well on the play-off hole to win!

With England and Fiji - fresh off the win in Hong Kong - both still in the chase of South Africa this World Series, we could yet see a draw come the final round at Twickenham.

What happens then? I don't actually know... I don't think we have ever had to answer that question but it would be interesting to see it!

Burgess will be speaking to Sports Gazette throughout the World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series 2016/17. You can follow all the action in Hong Kong here!

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