Newcastle Falcons’ flyer Marcus Watson insists Great Britain’s meticulous Olympic preparations paid dividends in their rugby sevens openers, as they earned pool wins against Kenya and Japan in Rio.
A double from Dan Bibby and tries from Dan Norton, Phil Burgess and Mark Bennett gave Simon Amor’s men a 31-7 victory over the Kenyans, the only blip being a Billy Odhiambo score in the second half.
And they then followed this up with a tight 21-19 win over Japan which saw James Rodwell cross twice in the first half.
But it was Watson, who scored five tries for Falcons in Aviva Premiership Rugby last season, who was the match-winner as he wriggled free of three tackles to go over and ensure Great Britain finished the day top of Pool C and with one foot in the semi-finals.
Ollie Lindsay-Hague, who made four appearances for Harlequins last season, is also involved for Team GB in Rio.
Starting as fourth favourites to be crowned the first Olympic rugby sevens champions, Watson and company’s opening display will have informed their rivals that they mean business in Brazil.
And Watson believes his side can really improve throughout the tournament, after admitting there may have been a few nerves before kick-off.
“It was a great first day,” said Watson. “I think the boys were a little bit nervous but excited more than anything and I think that showed, it was good fun.
“We have almost tried to make it out to be just any other tournament. It is really, we are just playing rugby and that is what we are used to.
“It was a good start and we can hopefully push on. Kenya are a great team so it is great to get that out of the way but we want to keep building with every game.
“It’s an amazing experience, once in a lifetime so it is class to be here.”
There were a few shocks in the tournament's opening few fixtures on Tuesday as first France defeated Australia 31-14, before Japan caused a major upset by beating New Zealand 14-12 – Sonny Bill Williams also being ruled out of the rest of the Games with an ankle injury.
Watson meanwhile believes the camaraderie that has developed in the squad has made them a force to be reckoned with.
“What is most special about this and playing for Great Britain is that we’ve got Welsh and Scottish boys playing alongside the English boys, we’ve made good friends that's the best thing about it,” he added.
“It’s great for us to come here. We can do well here, enjoy ourselves, and then take that confidence back to our clubs as well.”