- Davis captain's England in Exeter this weekend
- Buy tickets for the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter Sevens
- The Rob Vickerman Column, read
Ahead of this weekend's fourth and final leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix, the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter Sevens, we catch up with Alex Davis who is set to captain England.
You’ve had a breakthrough couple of seasons for England, how pleasing has it been for you to feature frequently on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series?
At the start of the season we set out some pretty clear goals on what it was that we wanted to achieve, and that was to finish in the top three. Finishing second overall – which was England’s highest finish since 2006 – was a brilliant achievement and this has definitely been my most enjoyable season by far.
What was your personal highlight from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series?
Signing the national anthem to a home crowd at Twickenham was without a doubt one of my highlights from the World Series. Another moment that really stood out for me was Cape Town this year. Playing South Africa on their turf in the final in front of a sell-out crowd was really special. For us to then turn them over in the final was unbelievable and has stuck with me all season.
There is a real emphasis on the development of new players on this European circuit – what has the experience been like for you as a senior player?
I’ve really enjoyed being a senior player who has been involved with the younger guys as it’s given me an opportunity to step up and play more of a leadership role. I’ve really relished the challenge as the leadership experience is something that I’ve really enjoyed and will hopefully put me in good stead for the next few years of my career.
The team is really starting to gel and you can see from the results in Moscow and in Poland that the performance is getting better and better and that’s because of their eagerness to learn.
It’s exciting to see what they can do and with the last leg of this competition being in Exeter in front of a home crowd is something that I think they’ll really step up for.
What has impressed you the most about this young England side?
For many of them this is the first time they’ve experienced wearing an England shirt and what it means to represent England on a European circuit, and you can see how proud they are of that and how much they value that this is the next step big in their careers.
Considering you travel around the world to compete, how much does it mean to you and the team to play in front of home fans like in Exeter?
On the World Series there are times where you have friends and family who are able to make the last minute trip across to some of the locations you’re playing in, but when it comes to home tournaments people come from all over the country and make a lot of effort to come and see you which is special.
Playing at home also makes you realise how much it means to fans who make England as a whole proud. The roar of the crowd as you run out of the tunnel is amazing and it really is a dream come true.
What’s next for England Sevens after the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter 7s?
The programme will switch off for four weeks which will give everyone the opportunity to spend time with friends and family and go on holiday. We’ll do some home training during this time but the key thing for us is to relax and let our bodies recover.
Pre-season training will start in the middle of August which will take us up to December when it all kicks off again in Dubai. Next season is going to be extremely exciting with the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens, so with the success we’ve had this season those two tournaments – on top of the World Series – will be huge goals for us next year.Tickets are still available for the Mitsubishi Motors Exeter 7s - here.