Perry Baker, the World’s best sevens player, has dismissed claims he is to sign for Biarritz in France and insists his only target is to help the USA win sevens gold at the Olympic Games in Japan in 2020.
Only then will Baker, who has been named the HSBC World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year for the last two years, consider offers to break into the 15 man game. Baker is preparing for the Hamilton leg of the World Sevens Series this weekend and told RugbyPass he had received offers to switch to the longer version of the sport but the chance to become a medal winner at the Tokyo Games is keeping him in sevens. Biarritz are planning to revamp their squad to try and regain Top 14 status.
Baker, a former American Football player, has helped the USA into top spot in the Sevens Series and said: “I would not play in France and miss out on the Olympic Games because my dream is to have a medal around my neck. We didn’t get a medal in 2016 and I want to be part of our bid for a medal in Japan. It is my whole reason for going into the 2020 season.
“Right now my focus is on helping the USA finish in the top four of the HSBC World Sevens Series and automatically qualify for the Olympic Games in Japan.
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“Fiji won gold in 2016 and that would be something amazing to hang your hat on and be able to say you are medallist at the Games and the percentage of people around the World who can say that is very small. It is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.
“There is a lot of word of mouth about deals in 15s and there are pros and cons about moving. I am open to the idea of playing 15s but feel it would be in the States first, in Major League Rugby which is just about to start its second year as a competition.
“There are new teams coming into MLR and that makes it more attractive for the fans and television audience because unlike the sevens it’s not happening in the early hours around the World. That means more fans and sponsorship getting behind the MLR and you cannot help but be excited with more big cities getting involved.
“There is talk about the fact I haven’t played 15s but teams are willing to give me a chance and when I came over from American Football I was told wouldn’t make the team. Some teams have reached out to me about playing 15s but it is all about timing.”
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