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Tom Mitchell: University rugby was an invaluable experience 26/10/2017

England Sevens international Tom Mitchell has stated his time playing at university was an important phase in his career.

Mitchell, who appeared for Team GB in last summer’s Olympics, played rugby for the University of Bristol on his journey to representing his country.

The 28 year-old claimed a silver medal in Rio and has also been involved in the Varsity match at Twickenham where he scored a try for Oxford against Cambridge in 2011.

England and GB’s skipper has said that playing in the BUCS system was a route for him in the game and with the introduction of BUCS Super Rugby last season, he believes university rugby offers a great opportunity for young players to develop in the game.

“My time playing university rugby was a pathway to England for me,” said Mitchell, who was part of BUCS’ punditry team at Exeter’s recent BUCS Super Rugby win over Durham. “The experience I gained was invaluable in terms of going forward.

“We had a good set-up at Bristol and it was the first opportunity for me to train with professionals and playing in that environment pushed me on to play for England Students and beyond.

“It is a great expose to play for them and BUCS Super Rugby puts them in the frame.”

Mitchell has enjoyed a successful couple of years, especially in Rio last year where he landed ten of his 11 conversion attempts with a crucial kick coming against South Africa in the semi-final.

He was also named top-points scorer in the 2013/14 HSBC World Sevens Series, but he really announced himself a year earlier where he scored three tries in Wellington while combining his season with studying at Kellog College, Oxford.

Mitchell scored his 100th series try for England in April of this year, but despite all his achievements, he still goes back to university rugby as a vital stage in his career.

He added: “With England Sevens, a lot of our guys have degrees and have gone to play professionally. That serves us all well.

“With our England Sevens Academy, there is a good structure in place. A lot of guys who left the academy have gone to university, but they are on the radar even when they are pursuing studies.

“Equally, there are guys who are at university who have contracts with England 7s so they are balancing both so there is a really strong link and they are getting the best of both worlds.” 


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