England’s Alex Gray set his sights on World Cup Sevens glory
England's Alex Gray sets his sights on World Cup Sevens glory after making the switch from the XV code of rugby to the seven game
Alex Gray readily admits his switch from the XV code of rugby to the sevens game has been done with England’s summer schedule in mind – and he is wasting no time in setting his sights on World Cup glory.
At the end of the regular XV season Gray left London Irish, the No.8 frustrated at a lack of regular playing time in the Aviva Premiership, and made the surprise switch to sign full-time with Ben Ryan’s England sevens team.
Last weekend he made his debut, helping England triumph at the Lyon leg of the European Grand Prix series, a result which sets Ryan’s men up nicely going into the sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow which for them starts with a Pool match against Portugal on 28 June.
Gray, speaking as he helped launch this summer’s J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s tournament which starts on 1 August, admits England were inconsistent during the World Series, but he believes the World Cup represents a chance to put things right – and he is desperate to help out.
“I have always wanted to play a bit of sevens and like a lot of young players I was struggling and getting a bit frustrated at not getting as much game time in the Premiership as I would have liked,” said the 22-year-old discussing his switch.
“Sevens was a bit of an outlet to try and get away and work on my game and my skills, and I don’t think there is any better place to do that than the sevens circuit.
“I knew the schedule coming up with a World Cup this summer and a Commonwealth Games next summer. There are a lot of big tournaments coming up and a lot of places to go and test myself and prove what I can do.
“Being involved in a World Cup that only comes around every four years will be something special. Coming into the sevens I want to play in these big tournaments and you don’t get much bigger than a World Cup, so that is my first aim to get myself into contention for that.
“It is going to be a big finish to the year and if you can come out world champions it is going to put a bonus on anyone’s season. If we could get a win at the World Cup I think that will put a few things right.”