Dubai: English Sevens great Dan Norton can have just a couple of days to reflect with gratitude on a career well spent as he shifts his sights to the Cape Town Round and a second Olympic Games in less than two years’ time.
On Friday, the 30-year-old became the first man-ever to score 300 tries and stand among the legends of Sevens. Norman was the first to score in a 26-12 romp against Canada as England opened the Dubai Sevens with a dominant show.
Norton currently stands unchallenged at the top with Kenya’s Collins Injera a distant second with 271 tries. But the Englishman knows well that there is hardly any time to reflect on his achievement as the teams head to Cape Town, South Africa for the second round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series from December 8-9.
‘Dan Norton 300 + Club Founder Member’ said a lone England flag at the far end of Pitch One. “That was where my dad was,” Norton told media after England squeezed out a 15-14 win over Australia to take the third spot in Dubai on Saturday.
“I’ve had a long time dwelling over this [300 tries landmark] during the pre-season. I haven’t had time reflecting, but it is a nice feeling. When I actually got the 300th try, I got a few quick hugs [from teammates] and then it was business as usual. There has been not really a lot of time to reflect on it, except for those 30 seconds on the ground and now during the flight [to Cape Town]. It’s time to move on,” he added.
Norton’s feat took him back to 2009 when, ironically enough, he got his first career try while playing Canada in Wellington. “It’s been a long journey and amazing experience since then. That first one was such a good moment for me and I never expected to be here all alone with such a huge feat. It’s nice to have my dad here as it’s always good to have someone close to celebrate such occasions. I never thought I would get here,” Norton said.
Norton was a member of the Great Britain squad that went down 7-43 to Fiji in the gold medal match at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. “The objective now is to stay fit and healthy. I owe a big thanks to all my previous coaches and teammates for helping me get here and I am looking forward to the long road ahead now,” Norton reflected.
“2020 Tokyo is a nice goal to have. But far more important is this year as all teams are getting on board for a long season. It’s going to be a good ride to the Olympics. But for the moment, this [300 + tries] is the big one,” he added.