That first day of school feeling
October 9, 2013
Chris Cracknell in training ahead of the Gold Coast Sevens © RFU
Ahead of the first leg of the 2013-14 HSBC Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast, England's Chris Cracknell gives his thoughts from within the camp after he was recalled to the squad following a season where he spent much of it injured.
Well here we are again. Another year of Sevens is upon us and a lot has happened in the off-season, that's for sure, and for me it's a strange case of beginning again - 12 months after the last season was ended by injury.
This time last year the Gold Coast Sevens and my whole season lasted around 30 seconds. I still blame Tom Mitchell for not passing me the ball (I was under the posts from 80m out) but nevertheless fate turned last season in to a very brief one. A year of operations and rehab and I'm ready to go all over again, this time with a tournament under my belt a few weeks ago.
A lot of change has happened since we finished runners up at the World Cup Sevens under the guidance of the new Fiji coach Ben Ryan. Ben put great foundations down over the last six years and brought on young talent like Dan Norton, Tom Mitchell and Dan Bibby to name but a few.
That being said, the appointment of Simon Amor has been a fantastic one. He's obviously been there and done it in a Sevens jersey for England and his knowledge of the game is unlimited, which can only help our development as players.
The off-season brought a few more things, mainly Tom Powell and James Rodwell both tying the knot. The baby rumours are already circulating and Tom can finally stop wearing a wig. As well as a new coach, we have had a few more new faces in our squad in Alex Gray, Callum Wilson and my new slightly OCD roommate Phil (Whizz) Burgess. It's great to see our squad develop and grow when new additions such as these are brought in.
Along with that there was the usual six day-a-week pre-season. I'd like not to reflect on this too much. It was horrible and we're all just glad it's over and we can play rugby again!
So to this weekend. Yes, we're back in the Gold Coast and, yes, I'm back and lucky enough to be in with 11 other lads who have been selected to go out and represent our country.
Eleven months ago I didn't know how long it would be before I could do this again, but now it has come around I've found these things are sent to test you and make you stronger. Your teammates, friends and family are a huge part of getting you through, so to all those who have supported me and helped, I owe you a huge thank you.
Roll on this Saturday and that first game against Spain.
Win a VIP Trip to Watch England at the Hong Kong Sevens - Heathrow Express is offering one lucky winner a VIP trip for two to the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens over the weekend of 28-30 March 2014. For your chance to win this fantastic prize and join the carnival atmosphere visit here
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament