Missing out on an Olympic spot is disappointment at its finest, but young winger Cameron Cowell admits he has relished every second of being involved in the Team GB rugby sevens squad in the lead up to next month’s Games.
The 20-year-old, once of London Irish, narrowly missed out on selection for the 12-man squad bound for Rio in August, but was heavily involved in several tournaments en route to the team being announced.
And while Cowell, who made his England sevens debut in 2014 before being included in their HSBC World Series squad this season, inevitably wishes he was on the plane to Brazil in a matter of weeks, he is more than confident that the team can do well and overcome the challenges that await.
“I think Team GB could do really well at the Olympics,” he said.
“It’s been quite a challenge welcoming teams from Scotland and Wales into the group but they have gelled really well as a team and I have been lucky enough to be a part of that.
“They seem like they have clicked really well and there is no reason why they can’t do really well at the Olympics.
“It’s going to be a really tough group for them. Japan have got some great players and they could really shock GB, and New Zealand turn up every tournament, they are amazing.
“But I do back the boys and I do think we could go a long way.
“Alex Davis has only been involved with sevens for two years, he’s still quite young and he’s an up and coming bloke.
“He’s so fast and so physical and I really think he is the one to watch out for.”
Run by England Rugby, 24/Sevens is an exciting new community sevens series that aims to grow rugby and increase participation among men and women in clubs.
England Rugby hosted the final of both the men and women’s competitions, all of whom had to beat the best in their region to progress.
Cowell was joined at the final by fellow England player Ruaridh McConnochie, and the pair presented the trophy to the winning teams, and insisted the tournament was a hotbed of talent.
“I’ve been really impressed by the talent on show, there are some boys here who are very, very quick,” he said.
“There are some good ball-carriers, there have been some good offloads and it’s what you want to see.
“There are scouts watching on looking to see if there is any up and coming talent, but it’s a fantastic way to get the Sevens name out there, especially with the Olympics coming up.
“It’s so important that the RFU is getting involved with rugby sevens.
“I played grassroots rugby when I was younger and played in tournaments where there were literally five spectators there.
“Now with the RFU getting behind it, they might find more talent at a younger age, there will be more funding available so they get better coaching and it will really grow as a community.”
England Rugby 24/Sevens, a new exciting grassroots sevens competition for all rugby teams, welcoming anyone who just wants to pick up a ball and run, for fun or glory. Visit www.englandrugby.com/24sevens to get involved