Rio 2016 the ultimate ambition for Ollie Phillips
OLLIE Phillips admits Rio 2016 is the ultimate aim as he returns to England Sevens action – but the former Gloucester wing knows he must prove his short-format prowess all over again.
The 30-year-old left Gloucester at the end of the season after six months with the Cherry and Whites.
And rather than switch to another Premiership club, the former Stade Francais and Newcastle Falcons wing has signed a full-time deal with the Sevens.
Phillips is joined in the 19-strong squad by 23-year-old Old Centralians head coach Jack Preece, who is still recovering from knee ligament repair surgery, and former Hartpury wing Dan Norton.
Phillips said the long-term aim is clearly a place at Brazil's summer Olympics in four years' time.
Rugby Sevens will be included in Olympics action for the first time in Rio, and Phillips said even the thought of competing offers massive motivation.
But the Durham University graduate said the biggest challenge of all will be to settle back into the Sevens swing.
Head coach Ben Ryan's squad are preparing for the nine-event HSBC World Series that kicks off with Australia's Gold Coast Sevens on October 13 and 14.
With the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June, former IRB World Sevens player of the year Phillips is relishing his new challenge.
The former England Sevens captain explained: "It's fantastic to be back and I can't wait to get stuck into the tournaments ahead.
"The fact that Sevens will be included in the next Olympics is massive.
"It's amazing to think rugby will be on the agenda in Rio.
"After what we've witnessed this summer in London I think it's fair to say anyone would love to have a chance at being involved in Brazil.
"That's four years and a lot of rugby away though.
"And the first challenge, a big one too, is for me to get settled back in and show what I can do again.
"The world series is a great event and we're up against the best in the world.
"When you think you've got the world series, the world cup next year and then the Commonwealth Games too, then there's so many things to look forward to for this squad, it's fantastic.
"And I'll just work as hard as I can to be involved in as much of that as possible."