To say you are an Olympian is impressive in its own right, but Scarlets’ James Davies insists Great Britain’s fast start to the men’s Rugby Sevens tournament proves they are not just there for a jolly.
Guinness PRO12 star Davies and fellow Welshman Sam Cross helped GB defeat a dangerous Kenya outfit 31-7 with a dominant display, before a tight 21-19 win over Japan saw them finish the day top of Pool C.
It was a pulsating day of rugby with reputation counting for nothing as both Australia and New Zealand, who GB will play in their final pool game tomorrow, tasted defeat.
And with a fantastic start against Kenya setting up an excellent day’s play, Davies – who scored six tries in 15 Guinness PRO12 appearances last season – believes they are right in the hunt for an Olympic medal.
“It is a great start for us, we put some good tries in and we made our tackles,” he said. “To come away with a win by 30 points against Kenya, that is a pretty good start.
“We looked at Kenya a bit as they are dangerous but really it is all about the work we have put in the last ten weeks or so.
“We’ve worked really hard for this and we want to put it all together and that showed in the performance.
“We looked at Kenya’s threats at the breakdown, especially this week as we’ve been working that contact area really hard and we were solid there and that got us the win.”
A Dan Bibby double, as well as scores from Dan Norton, Phil Burgess and Mark Bennett made sure of an excellent start against Kenya – a rising nation in Sevens who won their first World Series title in April.
James Rodwell’s two first-half converted scores had GB in full control of their game with Japan, only for Lomano Lemeki and Katsuyuki Sakai to dot down and level things up.
A great individual score from Marcus Watson – also converted by captain Tom Mitchell – put GB back in front, and although Lemeki grabbed another score late on a missed conversion saw GB hold on.
Davies and company have been enjoying their time in Rio so far and he is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
“I managed to get on TV for the opening ceremony so I was quite pleased,” he added. “It is the greatest show on earth; that is what they call it and certainly this week I’ve really seen that.
“It’s pretty special walking around the athletes’ village and seeing so many special athletes and to be a part of that is great and we can call ourselves Olympians.
“I’ve said it before, hats off to Scarlets and Wayne Pivac for letting me come here and do this.
“At the end of the day, I am contracted with them and so for them to give me this opportunity, I really owe it to them and I am going to make the most of it.”
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