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Star man Dan Bibby targets Twickenham comeback

Dan BibbyDan Bibby’s Olympic dream was nearly shattered last week with a dislocated shoulder but the England star is adamant he will be back in time to state his case for Rio in August.

The former Fylde fly-half has been England’s stand out player in the opening four rounds of this season’s World Series, making the tournament’s Dream Team for the Wellington leg last month.

But the following week in Sydney, he injured his shoulder and underwent surgery last week.

Desperate to represent Team GB in Rio, Bibby has vowed to be back in time for the last leg of the World Series at Twickenham.

“It was a shame to get injured like I did but I should only be out for three months and I hope I can play in London at the end of May,” he told The Rugby Paper.

“We’ll then go into the Team GB camp and that’s where I’ll have to prove my fitness is up to speed. It’s only my shoulder so I should be able to run pretty soon. I can’t wait.

“We had a long pre-season and it allowed me to work hard on all aspects of my game and I think it showed in the way I started the season.

“So getting injured is pretty frustrating but at least I won’t be burnt out when the Olympics come if I make the squad.”

Like Bibby, Team GB will face a race against the clock to perform in Rio as they’ll be playing catch-up on the main rivals who will have spent the season together.

Team GB, in comparison, are allowed only to train and play together once the World Series is over.

With All Black stars such as Sonny Bill Williams, Augustin Pulu and Liam Messam already in their ranks, New Zealand are the favourites to win gold having won both legs in Wellington and Sydney.

Australia are also bringing their big names to the party early in the season.

Playmaker Quade Cooper is ready to make his debut in the Las Vegas leg next week while record-breaking winger Bryan Habana will be with South Africa, who have already had Francois Hougaard and Juan de Jongh involved in the series this season.

The makeup of Team GB is still in the air, but Bibby is confident they’ll be able to deliver when it matters.

He said: “The Kiwis have brought in some really good experience and they’ll be hard to stop in Rio.

“They might lack a little bit of fitness but they make up for it by sheer size. Someone like Akira Ioane has been immense for them so far.

“It’s pretty exciting to see all these big names getting involved and I think that Sevens will grow massively on the back of being showcased in the Olympics.

“We’ll link up as Team GB a week after London where we might have about 20 Sevens players and a handful of 15s players but I’m not sure who it’ll be.

“That will make our challenge for Rio harder but we’ve got to take it in our stride and I’m sure all the boys will be talented enough to put in a decent performance.”

England will have to do without Bibby in Las Vegas and Vancouver for the next two tournaments but Simon Amor’s side welcome back Charlie Hayter, Phil Burgess and Dan Norton, below left.

The experienced trio are named alongside 20-year-old debutant Harry Glover and they will face Japan, Scotland and Australia in the pool stages in the Las Vegas leg.

Coach Amor said: “It is great that we will be able to bring back Phil, Dan and Charlie and to start building their game time again.

“Charlie has worked hard to return to fitness and been a great mentor for the young players during his recovery. It will be good to see him back playing.

“We’re delighted to be giving Harry an opportunity to make his debut.

“We are travelling with a relatively inexperienced group but these are good young players who have lots of talent, self-belief and bright futures with England Sevens.”

England squad: Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Cameron Cowell, Harry Glover, Alex Gray, Charlie Hayter, Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell (c), Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton, Jack Wilson

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