Flying home alone
March 29, 2012
Chris Cracknell was involved in another bruising encounter with Fiji © Getty Images
I'm writing on a plane. But not one bound for the destination I had hoped for. It's going to London Heathrow instead of Tokyo. It's not only the final result in Hong Kong that was tough to take last weekend, I also picked up a shoulder injury against Fiji in the semi-finals and now find myself in seat 43E inbound to Heathrow.
What a weekend it was though. Fiji ran out as worthy victors of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in front of another fantastic, vibrant crowd. The change in format - to a 12-team event for the 'core' teams - made for some very tough pool matches. For us it was Argentina, Kenya and finally Samoa, which meant getting to the later stages of the tournament would be no mean feat.
We won two out of three and it came down to small margins against Samoa on the Saturday night with us on the wrong end of the result. Finishing second in the pool set up a quarter-final against Australia - a team we had yet to play in the series this year. The Aussies gave us a good run for our money and their never-say-die attitude certainly tested us and it went down to the wire, with Dan Norton scoring what has to be one of the tries of the season to steal the game for us.
That is when the tournament ended for me, in a brutal encounter against an extremely fired-up Fiji team. We didn't convert our opportunities in the early stages of the game, which went on to cost us and put us in to the third-place play-off against South Africa in which we didn't do ourselves justice and lost heavily. Aside from those final results we had a fantastic time in Hong Kong. It's one of the cities I desire to live in as it has it all; the hustle and bustle of city life and 15 minutes away from some beautiful beaches and amazing countryside. I've also found out about the New Territories which I hope to explore next year.
Our final day in Hong kong was a bit rushed and strange. I was told I'd be flying home in the evening and not with the squad to Tokyo, which is meant to be an amazing city and completely different to anywhere we have been before. For me it meant seeing the team fly off together to Tokyo and find myself flying home alone. It's the first time I've picked up an injury that couldn't be fixed by our outstanding physio Brett Davison and had to watch the team fly on without me. Instead I'll spend a weekend shouting at the TV supporting the lads in their quest to raise the cup in the new destination on the Series.
Jealous? Definitely. Gutted? Absolutely.
Both the above make me realise just how lucky I am to do my job and be part of a great team of guys. I wish the lads all the best for the tournament, and it's a bitter pill to swallow knowing I won't be there to pull on the white (or sometimes the Tequila Sunrise) jersey this weekend alongside them. Come on England!
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