Chris Cracknell Column
The magnificent Hong Kong Sevens
England 7s' Chris Cracknell
March 20, 2013
The Hong Kong Sevens is the most prestigious Sevens event © Getty Images
England Sevens ace Chris Cracknell is in the final stages of rehab after a serious knee injury and misses out on being part of the superb sevens spectacle in Hong Kong this weekend.
Life with your name in the 'Injured' column of the player noticeboard in the England Sevens camp has been a crowded place this season. Fortunately the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer, with only Ollie Phillips, Tom Mitchell and Mark Odejobi not involved in pitch sessions in the build up this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens.
Yes, that means I've actually laced up a pair of boots, got muddy, argued and thrown some weight about in training for the first time in since injuring my knee in October. Some people were happy but not many of the backs!
The squad flew out to Hong Kong last week, leaving just a small contingent of us behind pacing the concourse at Twickenham Stadium and lifting weights in a continuous frenzy to relieve the stress of injury and fight to be back in contention for selection once the squad return from the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
For those of you that live on the moon, the Hong Kong Sevens is one of the most famous and prestigious Sevens events. It is the highlight of the year when we all roll into town to do battle in So Kon Po. It has a distinctly expat feel to it and every year I visit I run into more friends who have fled London in search of a larger pay packet and smaller tax bill.
This is obviously great for England but it also comes with an additional pressure as the place is seen as a home away from home for us. Nevertheless, since we came back into camp after the Las Vegas leg of the series, the sole purpose of our training schedule has been for Friday night's game against Samoa followed by Scotland and Portugal on Saturday. No stone has been left unturned to make sure we are prepared and ready for whatever those three nations throw at us.
Just the thought of it makes me feel like I'm running out in a few hours' time when in reality I'll probably be de-icing my car. All the guys venturing into the unknown and playing there for the first time don't know how lucky they are just yet. Yes you can probably guess I'm missing it a smidgen...
One thing being injured has enabled me to do is coach and get on the road helping some of the young talent of the future. But the main challenge has been helping Barry Maddocks prepare the England Women's sevens team for this season's Rugby World Cup and also tournaments in Houston and next weekend's event in China. Good luck to them and bring back another trophy to add to the Houston title.
No doubt Hong Kong is already in frenzy as the off-field events are ramped up as the athletes that will be on show also make sure they are ready for action. The lifestyles couldn't be more different apart from one thing. Whether you're going on a three-day booze fest or a three-day event that will test you mentally, physically and psychologically, come Thursday night you'll all be carbo-loading for the big one.
Good luck to you all in the South Stand but most importantly get behind England!
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