Quins duo determined to right the wrongs down under
5 April 2007 16:23pm
NEC Harlequins youngsters Charlie Amesbury and Danny Care are currently 12,000 miles away in Australia with the England Sevens squad but they are far from being on holiday. The duo played alongside fellow Quin Tom Williams last weekend in the Hong Kong Sevens, where England were unable to claim their fifth successive title after losing to New Zealand in the quarterfinals. It was the first time either of the players had been to the world's most famous sevens tournament and both were impressed by the occasion.
"It is a fantastic place to play rugby and the whole experience was unbelievable," said Amesbury. "The atmosphere is amazing but there is no describing how disappointed we were with our performance. England have such a strong and successful record at the tournament that it was horrible to lose in the quarters; I think we went into our shells a bit and just didn't perform against New Zealand. We started badly and before we knew it they were 21-0 up and we were struggling to play catch up."
Care echoes his Quins and England team-mate's thoughts: "It is an amazing tournament and nothing like I have ever experienced before. Losing to the Kiwis was such a gutting way to end our tournament. There was a lot of pressure on us to perform well as everywhere we went people were talking about the 'five in a row' and whether we could win again. In a way there was more pressure on those of us who hadn't played there before as we knew what others before us had achieved. However, there are no excuses with that final game - New Zealand deserved to win and played better than us."
The players have now travelled down to Adelaide ahead of this weekend's IRB Australia Sevens. Neither Care or Amesbury has been to Adelaide before and are impressed by what they have seen so far.
"We only arrived on Tuesday and have been training ever since but it is obvious already that everyone in this town is sports mad," said Amesbury. "The sports facilities at the school where we are training are amazing and whilst Aussie Rules is definitely the number one sport in Adelaide, they are still expecting over 20,000 people to come to the rugby this weekend."
England face a tough pool with Tonga, Canada and Fiji on Saturday, with the tournament being staged at the Adelaide Oval - the city's cricket ground.
"We went on a recce to the stadium today and it's very impressive," said Care. "It is big and open and as a cricket ground it is pretty hard in the centre. We play our first match (against Tonga) at midday on Saturday so will have to play in the midday sun as well. We have so much to put right from the wrongs of last weekend and everyone is really excited about playing."
Amesbury adds: "We have had a good look at what went wrong last weekend and have changed quite a lot in training. We need to be more positive on the pitch and believe in ourselves. It would be fantastic to win here and after the disappointment of last weekend that is all everyone is focusing on."
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.