sports gazette

EXCLUSIVE: Phil Burgess- Ooh La La, Paris in next after a surprise in Singapore

Published: 12 May 2017

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


We underperformed in our first game against France, a 24-14 defeat. We were shell-shocked and caught off guard, but credit to France who took that opportunity.

The second game against Japan was a 40-10 success and then we finished with a must-win game against World Series leaders South Africa.

We managed to put in a fantastic performance to win 17-12, finishing top of the pool.

On the second day, we squeezed past an impressive Kenyan team 13-12 in the quarter-finals but came unstuck against eventual winners Canada, who swept three second-half tries to take it 17-5.

We played for bronze against a young Aussie team and won 12-14. It was a great opportunity for our youngsters to get some game time and experience top level sevens.

That time of year…

Canada deserved to win. They have been building this year and had some super results topped off by a great win in Singapore.

Lots of different teams will peak at different times. Last season we had five different winners, three in the final three tournaments, so it will be an interesting run-in.

We were also not 100% in tune with the small intricacies of Canada's play, so came unstuck and were outplayed.

Despite this, I wouldn't say Singapore was a struggle. We built through the tournament and fought hard for everything, winning a few lucky bounces- after all, we ended up with a bronze!

Rugby is a fickle game and other teams’ results are out of our control. We will just focus on ourselves and make England proud for our last two legs.

We are setting ourselves the targets of putting in two solid performances and hopefully results will take care of themselves.


This is my first trip to the French capital for the sevens, so I'm really looking forward to playing in front of a new crowd at a new stadium.

The French are passionate about their rugby and we are lucky enough to play the hosts in Pool C, as well as Kenya and Spain- the atmosphere will be cracking!

Thinking on a World Series level, the best result for us coming out of Paris would be that, with a slightly changed team, we put in six good 14-minute performances showing what we are about and how we want to play.

We are setting ourselves the targets of putting in two solid performances and hopefully results will take care of themselves.


As the end of the season approaches, I like to focus on the work that I have put in. It gives me belief that I have done everything I can to be in the best position to put in a performance I can be proud of.

Getting the right mindset is massively important for all sports and sevens is exactly the same. ‘Switching on' for every game over a tough weekend is really important.

And another thing…

Keeping on the French theme, a joie de vivre of mine is my lovely little French bulldog at home. I'm very passionate about dogs- I love all sorts and love to be around them!

I’m also a keen golfer- I love playing a round when I'm not too sore from the rugby!

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

^ Back to top ^