Tom Bowen has called on England men’s sevens to bring out their horrible side for their grudge match with Wales after missing out on the chance for a medal at Birmingham 2022.
The Brighton-born sevens star was part of the team that won bronze four years ago on the Gold Coast, but England’s podium hopes were ended prematurely this time around.
Defeat to New Zealand in their final Pool A game, following a heavy loss to Samoa on day one, ensured there would be no repeat of their medal-winning heroics at Coventry Arena.
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But England showed huge character to beat Jamaica 45-7 in Saturday’s evening session as Bowen took the armband and bagged a brace in front of a raucous home crowd.
The hosts will now face Wales on Sunday as they look to finish as high as ninth and Bowen was delighted with the way his side responded after their earlier disappointment.
“Jamaica are a good team and got some really fast players who can put you under pressure, but we felt like we got our tactics right and put the to the sword when we needed to,” he said.
“We’re happy about the bounce back and then we’ve got to get dressed up and go again now. It’s one thing to lead your country out in a home Games but to get a good win is great.
“You remember those ones. It was special. I don’t think the score against New Zealand represented how we played, we fronted up and played better.
“That was all we could ask for and I think we were a little bit frustrated with how the score looked at the end, but we got in the right headspace to play again so we’re all good.
“We just want to go out and enjoy ourselves now and play some nice attacking rugby. We want to work hard and be gritty and horrible to play against, that’s something you can’t teach.”
Bowen also reflected on the decision to combine the England, Scotland, and Wales teams next season to form Great Britain men's and women's teams for the 2023 World Sevens Series.
The home nations previously competed as GB amid funding cuts in 2021 in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games and Bowen feels the move could prove beneficial in the future.
“It will just bring a bit more depth. As an England programme we only have eight contracts this year and we’re bringing boys in and out,” said the 28-year-old sevens veteran.
“Hopefully as a Great Britain programme we can have a lot more full-time players, we can be professional the whole time and just be able to drive that environment.
“We can have something for sevens players to aspire to, something that we can put on that pedestal and say look if you’re playing well you can play for GB. A proper career paths.”
Reflecting on England men’s overall performance at the Commonwealth Games so far, Bowen added that the hosts just didn’t make the most of their opportunities in the group stage.
“Sevens is all about moments and you don’t get many of them in 14 minutes,” he added.
“You get one or two and if you take them, you are doing well, if you don’t then you end up on the wrong side of most games, but the crowd has been brilliant, really amazing.”
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