Paddy Kelly was as fresh face in the world series and now part of GB training squad

Paddy Kelly made his World Sevens Series debut with Scotland in January 2020, but his campaign was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He was pleasantly surprised to be called for the Great Britain Sevens training squad for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The men’s sevens tournament in Japan is set to take place in July 26th and 28th, while the women’s sevens event will be happening between July 29th and July 31st. Both the tournament will be happening in the iconic Tokyo Stadium which was also used for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The 25 year old suffered a near career ender injury two years ago, this threatened to derail his career. the Glasgow Warriors player had to deal with many injuries in his career.

“From the start of the 2019/20 season, I was in training with the Scotland Sevens boys regularly and there was a great atmosphere in camp with a young group of boys, many of whom I was already good mates with,” Kelly tells TRU.

“Ciaran Beattie had just come in as head coach and everyone was out to impress him. I had a lot to learn having transitioned from XVs, but I felt I was going well before I tore my hamstring before the opening World Sevens Series legs in late 2019 and I thought to myself, ‘this is going to be a nightmare to break into the squad now’.

“Thankfully, I managed to get fit around the turn of the year and then I was selected to go to the next four legs of the World Sevens Series in Hamilton in New Zealand, Sydney, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

“Playing in those tournaments was great for me and you learn with every tie you play against world-class athletes. Things happen so quickly out there on the pitch and you have to react quickly or else you are left behind.

“Sadly after the Vancouver leg last March, everything was shut down due to the pandemic.”

“I am happy to be a workhorse around the park for the team”

“I am used to injuries, but that one really hurt given that I was going to be getting a chance with Glasgow with guys away at the Autumn Nations Cup,” he explains.

“It took me a wee while to get over that and although the Tokyo Olympics had by that stage been postponed, I didn’t think I was in the mix because the Scotland guys who were in the mix, had it happened in 2020, had already been told plus I was so new to the game.

“However, earlier this year I got told I was in the extended GB squad and it really gave me a big lift and something to aim for.

“The camps we have had so far have been really good. There is a lot to take on board, but as a new player to sevens, I am just soaking it all in and continuing to learn my new role as a prop or hooker. I am happy to be a workhorse around the park for the team.

“Sevens has reinvigorated me as a player. Now I’m giving it everything to make it to Tokyo.”