London Irish target Sevens title
July 10, 2012
Topsy Ojo will hope to be in try-scoring form come Friday evening at the Stoop © Getty Images
J.P Morgan Sevens Series
London Irish's Topsy Ojo is adamant that his side want to win the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series despite the tournament traditionally being a stage for the Aviva Premiership's younger players.
Last season's tournament saw newly capped England international Jonathan Joseph shine and Ojo, who has found himself out of the Test reckoning ever since his first two caps back in 2008, is hoping to impress. Ojo has revealed that the Exiles will be fielding a strong side at the Stoop on Friday as they look to kick-start the new season with a new trophy in their cabinet.
Ojo was under Toby Booth's guidance last season but with Brian Smith back in charge of the club, he has brought a new outlook when it comes to tournaments like the J.P. Morgan Series.
"We are using the Series partly as pre-season but we are also targeting winning the tournament," Ojo told ESPN. "That mindset is definitely something that Brian Smith brought in - previously we possibly wouldn't have got into anything competitive this early in the campaign but it's something there so we're viewing it as something we want to win. It's a good run out and a solid work out ahead of the new season so it's essential in our build up to the start of the Aviva Premiership."
While Ojo has already run out on the international stage for England and is in the prime of his career, he is still looking at opportunities like Friday's Series as an opportunity to develop his skills.
"I did Young England Sevens when I was younger and was in the squad for one year but I unfortunately got injured so didn't have an opportunity to do any of the circuit," Ojo said. "But I've got a fair bit of Sevens experience - I've played in the Middlesex Sevens a few times - so I'm really looking forward to it.
"For a winger playing in Sevens, it certainly puts a lot of emphasis on your skills as you are likely to see a lot of the ball. It'll be a good opportunity to test some plays in a live environment and it'll also give us a chance for comparison against other teams."
With former Saxons boss Stuart Lancaster now in charge of the national side, Ojo will hope to impress the new boss. The summer saw the likes of Delon Armitage and Nick Kennedy depart to Toulon and with Armitage out of the picture, Ojo may fancy a run at fullback. But with Tom Homer impressing last term, Ojo expects to be playing predominantly on the flank.
"Tom had a great campaign so I reckon he'll be first-choice fullback," Ojo said. "But if I'm needed to move to the back of the field, I'll definitely put my hand up. I had a good run there a couple of seasons ago and to be honest we all move around a fair bit in the back three so I might end up playing part of a game at the back with Tom moving to the wing."
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