Northampton flyer Ryan Olowofela insists he has no intention of hanging around in the race to replicate Ruaridh McConnochie’s stunning rise to stardom.
McConnochie has graduated from England Sevens to Bath’s first team and now to the verge of England World Cup selection in a little over 12 months.
Former Leicester academy wing Olowofela, twin brother of 21-year-old Leicester wing Jordan, aims to follow suit after two years on the World 7s circuit with England.
Olowofela told The Rugby Paper: “I joined England 7s from Leicester and was with Ruaridh for a year before he went to Bath. His move to 15s has really paid of for him and what more could he ask for?
“It’s a good example of someone coming into 15s from 7s and doing really well. But I’ve always had that ambition to get back into 15s, I just didn’t know when that would be.
“I had a really good season with the 7s but this opportunity with Saints came up so I couldn’t say no to it. I had a few other options but this club was probably different to the rest; they had a strong finish last season and show a lot of faith in youngsters.”
Olowofela faces wing competition from Taqele Naiyaravoro, Tom Collins and Ahsee Tuala but does not lack faith in his ability to make an instant impact.
He said: “It’s pretty well known that if you perform well at Saints you get a chance; then if you take it you’ll become a regular starter. Everyone seems to be on the same page about that and although there’s a few good wingers, I’m up for the challenge.
“I’m quicker than my brother and in testing I was the quickest off the mark at Saints as well, so hopefully I can get involved quite quickly. Learning all the structures and plays is probably the toughest thing because there are so many more in 15s.”
Quitting Leicester two years ago might have been tough for some but Olowofela’s self-confidence shines through. He added: “It’s good to see your brother doing well and Jordan had a good season at Leicester, but I’ve got no regrets at all about leaving.
“I needed game time but wasn’t getting it so 7s gave me that opportunity. I enjoyed it, and off the back of that I’ve now signed for two years at Saints. Simon Amor (England 7s head coach) really helped develop my game as an individual, not just the team.
“Now I’m working under Sam Vesty who’s another class coach who believes he can progress my game further and he knows what he’s talking about. He reckons I’ve got everything I need; he just wants to improve my awareness so that I use it all in games.
“We’ve got a lot of hungry young boys pushing the older guys and the competition’s really healthy. We’re all looking forward to the start of the season.”
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