England aiming for Dubai Sevens redemption
James Rodwell is hoping reigning Dubai champions England can do all they need to do to clinch a third successive victory when they compete in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in a few weeks time.
The experienced forward has 35 events to his name, making him England's third-most capped Sevens player after Ben Gollings and Simon Amor. He has also played a key part in the last two Cup victories in Dubai but, with England facing some tough Pool matches after their poor start to the season in Australia, he is taking nothing for granted.
“I'd love to say that we will come and complete the hat trick, but we have got a tough Pool to start with,” said the man they call 'Big Red'.
“We will have to take each game as it comes and, with the teams we have drawn, we have to be playing at our best to even qualify from the group.
“The likes of South Africa and Samoa are two massive countries and Portugal, like us, probably didn't do as well as they would have hoped on the Gold Coast last month, so they will be looking to bounce back.
“We didn’t help ourselves with the Pools being done on the Gold Coast results,” admitted the 28-year-old, who was part of the England team that lost out to Spain in the Bowl Final in Australia.
Rodwell: "We are not a bad team overnight"
The disappointment of what happened in Round 1 of the HSBC Sevens World Series is still raw in the England camp, but Rodwell says they are targeting Dubai as the place to get their Series back on track.
“There are a few things that we will try and change because we didn’t play to our full potential on the Gold Coast and the results didn’t go how we wanted them to," he added.
“It doesn’t mean we are bad team over night, we just had a bad tournament and we will be looking to put thing right in Dubai. We finished third in the world last year and the team is very similar to what it was then.
“People from the outside might think that games against teams like Spain and Kenya are going to be easy but in Sevens it's such an open game that if you make one little mistake you will get punished. There is so much space on the pitch that covering someone else is virtually impossible."
Rodwell made his Sevens debut in Dubai four years ago and admits it is a special place for him and for England.
"Dubai is one of my favourite tournaments,” he said. “The crowd is always amazing and they make it feel like a home game for us. They give us that little bit extra when we're feeling tired. When you hear the crowd, you're straight back up on your feet. That number of people behind you definitely gives you a boost. We don’t take that for granted, but it makes you feel at home."
Tickets to this year’s Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens are available now online through www.dubairugby7s.com and from selected Costa and MMI outlets, Virgin Megastores, Emirates Group Headquarters, dnata offices and at 7he Sevens. Save money by buying your tickets now.
Video: Highlights for England winning Dubai 2011