England 7s captain Tom Mitchell eyes Commonwealth gold

England 7s captain Tom Mitchell and Phil Burgess are hoping to win Commonwealth Games gold at Glasgow 2014

As part of an England 7s squad that tours the world playing in some of sport’s greatest cathedrals, Tom Mitchell and Phil Burgess have played in front of some impressive crowds.

But the pair both admit that claiming the first-ever Commonwealth Games gold as Glasgow 2014 for Team England would be beyond anything they have experienced before.

Everyone in our squad is really excited about the Commonwealth Games

Tom Mitchell

Mitchell and Burgess visited the Olympic Park earlier this month to help celebrate the passage of the Queen’s Baton, the traditional curtain raiser to the Games.

They met some of the members of the public chosen to carry the baton, which has visited every Commonwealth country and territory on its journey to Glasgow.

And Mitchell said seeing thousands of crowds come out to see the baton and celebrate the spirit of the Games had only whetted his appetite for what’s to come next month.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity to come down here and soak up some of the atmosphere a few weeks ahead of the actual event,” said England captain Mitchell.

“Everyone in our squad is really excited about the Commonwealth Games, it’s a massive multi-sport event with Team England and a massive opportunity for us to do something a bit different in front of a new crowd and a new audience and we’re really looking forward to it.”

England 7s skipper Mitchell and his team ended their season on a high last month, with Mitchell knocking over a drop goal loss to the All Blacks 15-12 at the Twickenham leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in front of a packed house on their way to a third-placed finish.

“We finished the season on a high, had a couple of weeks off and now we’ve come back in and we’re raring to go,” added Mitchell.

“It’s nice to have one single focus to work towards, we have a nice block of training now and a few warm-up tournaments to get
ourselves in the zone and in the right place for the Commonwealths.

“With the audience we will reach hopefully we can create a bit of a legacy, there’s a huge history of 7s more so than perhaps people realise and we want to open that up to as many people as we can.

“Not many people get the opportunity to take part in the Commonwealth Games so to come home with a medal, especially a gold one, would be a pretty special moment.”

And Burgess admits he can’t wait to take to the field for the first time north of the border, and potentially steer England to a place on the podium.

“Coming down to an event like this gets you a little bit more excited and you see what it might be like when we’re out there, it’s an eye opener,” he said.

“Any medal there would be fantastic and that’s exactly what you’re aiming for, you want to finish and be successful, but you can’t explain what it would be like until you’ve actually done it.”

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