The great news is my broken jaw is fixed and all the metalwork has been removed which I means have been able to eat steak again! The only lingering frustration is that I have not made it back in time to help the guys in Hong Kong and Singapore, but look out London and Paris!
I have been given the all clear and it’s now a case of easing my way back and I was able to take a bump in training and bounced up with a smile on my face after jumping in to try and make a intercept and collided with Ben Pinkelman. My reaction was “that feels really good” and I realised just how much I had missed it while the rest of the guys were all laughing.
All of the metalwork was taken out of my mouth a week ago and everything is healing well after the screws were removed which means I can eat anything I want. My team mate Danny Barrett is also back training after his arm injury which is great.
I would love to be running out here at the CathayPacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens because this is still a very special tournament on the circuit and one the USA have yet to win. We felt we could have achieved something last year and the post-match debrief we held highlighted areas where we needed to improve and I believe that Hong Kong experience was a key moment in our development. We really felt there was a great opportunity for us having won in Las Vegas and playing well in Vancouver but came up short.
Now, we return to Hong Kong as the No.1 ranked team in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series having made significant strides this year and there is a special vibe about this tournament. For the USA Sevens squad it is all about building on the success we have achieved this season. Making five finals is a truly amazing achievement but it doesn’t guarantee anything and what drives us on is the desire to remain in the No1 spot. However, we know that just how tough the Hong Kong leg is going to be with Fiji attempting to win it for a remarkable fifth successive time. Those guys get incredible support around the circuit but particularly here in Hong Kong and HSBC have put together a special film about why this tournament is so special to Fiji and all of their amazing fans.
When you are ranked No.1 then more people take notice of your achievements and that has been the case at home where rugby’s profile really is improving which is great for the sport. If you are successful in the States then people want to jump on board and be part of it and it came as a surprise to many that we were No1 so now fans want to see us in action. Before heading out to Hong Kong to support my teammates, I did some coaching with a successful High School team in Florida and it really is great to see so many youngsters playing the game at home. Getting into the grassroots in the US is absolutely key with parent being involved as well and more kids are playing. We are getting there and while it won’t happen overnight, we want people to get inspired.
That has happened in Hong Kong where the HSBC Try Rugby programme has seen over 30,000 children pick up a rugby ball for the first time. It is celebrating its second anniversary with HSBC working in partnership with HKRU and Hong Kong Education University to incorporate rugby sevens into the national curriculum which is great news.
Unlike the majority of the fans at the Sevens here in Hong Kong, I won’t be wearing fancy dress at the tournament because the only thing I want to wear at the moment is our team kit and I cannot wait for London.
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