Saracens winger Mike Ellery insists he has no regrets about passing up a shot at the Olympics, even if the former England 7s star faces a tough challenge to prove himself in a new position.
The 25-year-old joined the Aviva Premiership Rugby high-flyers over the summer after a two-year stint on the 7s circuit culminated in Ellery representing his country at the Commonwealth Games.
Despite previously making his name as a powerful No.8 for Championship side Moseley, Ellery joined Saracens as a winger following a successful move into the backs in the 7s game.
Though Ellery admits he has not made life any easier by joining a squad containing two of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s best finishers in Chris Ashton and Dave Strettle, he is determined to draw on their experience.
And the recent convert appears to be a quick learner after he claimed a try on debut in last week’s LV= Cup triumph over Harlequins.
“I was really enjoying the 7s so I wouldn’t have left unless it was for a massive opportunity at a Premiership club like Saracens,” he said.
“The Commonwealths experience was amazing as I’d not played in that atmosphere before and 7s is growing with the Olympics in 2016 but I wasn’t going to stay just for that.
“I spoke to a few people whose opinion I valued and they said I should definitely come to Saracens, where I could get the best coaching as I would be moving position.
“It’s not the easiest club to break into the wing on but I knew when I came here they’ve got two of the best Premiership wingers.
“But Dave and Chris are so helpful – I didn’t realise how tough it was on the wing and how good their skill-set is so I’m just trying to learn as much as I can.
“Ben Ransom has also helped me a lot with the backfield work because he’s a fullback and he’s been helpful with all his experience, even though he’s still young.”
After impressing in his first LV= Cup game, the former Newcastle Falcons academy player believes his transition back into the 15-a-side has been made easier by the welcoming environment of Allianz Park.
“I didn’t want to be thrown into a first team environment where I wouldn’t know exactly what I’m doing so it’s good to learn in the LV= Cup first,” he added.
“It’s great Saracens have a squad that allows me to take it steady as I get back the experience of 15s and then learn all the calls that come with playing in the backfield.
“I’ve just being trying to revise really – I came in at the start of August so it’s been quite a rapid learning curve.
“The first few weeks on the pitch it was going from having 18 people training to 40 or 50 people on the field.
“But everyone is so friendly here it’s been good getting to know them – it’s a good club to be at and it’s been an easy transition.”
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