Ollie Philips

Gullivers' Rugby Operations Manager, Henry Kirchner, caught up with Gullivers' new sevens ambassador, Ollie Phillips. See the announcement here, but read on to find out more about Ollie, his opinion on the GB sevens proposal and some tour stories!

H: Hi Ollie, great to have you on board with us. What is your favourite sevens destination and why?

O: It has to be Hong Kong. There is just so much history behind that tournament and the support that people give to, not only the tournament, but the whole week building up to the event is really quite remarkable and what makes it so special. I have some very fond memories there and have been very fortunate to win there on three occasions so it makes it even more special when that has happened.
H: Your favourite memory on the pitch?

O: Wellington Final 2009, beating New Zealand in their own back yard. We were 17-0 down at one point and to come back and win that game 19-17, after the hooter had gone, was - and still is - the greatest rugby memory of my life.

Ollie Phillips

H: Your favourite memory off the pitch?

O: Being asked to join the England training squad when i was 19. I had never really thought about playing professional rugby, mainly because I didn't think I would be good enough, but when I got the phone call from Mike Friday asking me to come down and train with the 7's squad, I was totally blown away. Playing professionally was a great achievement, but being asked to train and eventually play for England was a lifelong dream that came true!
H: Any funny tour stories you’d like to share (keep it clean please, Ollie...!)?

O: What goes on tour, stays on tour as they say! A particular favourite though is when we convinced Ben Ryan (our England coach at the time) that Rob Baxter was ringing him and was pulling three of his players (Chris Cracknell, Kevin Barrett and Josh Drauninui) back to Exeter. He pretty much had a heart attack and was rushing around, stressed out of his head, hurling expletives at everyone. However, when we revealed in the team meeting a little while later, that it was actually myself putting on a broad Cornish accent and that Rob Baxter had absolutely no wish to call them back, I don't think I've ever seen him look so shocked and relieved all at one time!
H: Favourite and worst people to share a room with and why?

O: The best: Chris Cracknell. He became one of my favourite touring buddies. His vast array and understanding of London's new and underground music scene meant that my iTunes library was well replenished every trip.

The worst: Tom Biggs. Easily the worst room mate ever. His relentless array of terrible dad jokes, coupled with his obsession of constantly looking at himself in the mirror and asking me whether 'he'd ever met anyone as ripped as himself' made for some tiresome and tedious conversation at times!

Ollie Phillips

H: Why have you chosen to work with Gullivers?

O: I have long maintained that you should work and associate yourselves with good people, that are honest to the core and have a level of integrity that's unshakeable. Gullivers has exactly that for me. They deliver time and time again. They have been around a long time now and are extremely well respected in our industry and I am always pleasantly surprised at the level of service that they provide to their customers.
H: Why should people travel with Gullivers?

O: Because they are extremely professional and well organised and they have rugby's true values at the core of their company. They go to the best events and always make their trips so much fun to be a part of. And not only that, but if you do travel with Gullivers, you get to come away with me too...bonus!
H: What do you prefer about the sevens format?

O: The speed of the game. So much happens in such a short amount of time and I love how far the game has come on since i first started playing in 2004. The quality is outstanding and the players are some of the best athletes in the world. When you add on top of that, the crazy, carnival atmosphere that comes with any of the tournaments, there really isn't a huge amount not to like!
H: What is your opinion on there being a GB sevens team as opposed to the separate nations as present?

I think it is necessary for the game and also for GB in order to ensure that they remain competitive when it comes to an Olympic Games, but I can't say that I am a supporter of the notion. It would be a travesty if we lost England, Wales and Scotland from the World Series as they are so well supported everywhere around the world and it is a great platform for the development of future talent. By having a GB side in the series, it would mean that GB stood a much better chance of success at the Olympics, but call me old fashioned - I love the romance and idea that these players come together at the last minute and form such a strong team spirit and bond, that then takes them all the way to the Olympic Finals.

H: Thanks for your time, Ollie - look forward to seeing you in Hong Kong!

O: Thanks Henry.



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