Bennett on the road to Rio

Mark Bennett has admitted he’s ‘overwhelmed’ by the thought of going to this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, as he was yesterday announced as a member of Simon Amor’s Team GB Rugby Sevens squad.

The 16-times capped full internationalist joined the initial 27-man Olympic training squad, alongside six other Scots, in late-May for an intense six week programme, and has done enough in that short space of time to secure a seat on the flight to Rio.

I’m absolutely delighted. The announcement was a great day and, admittedly, a bit overwhelming. I just can’t wait to go now,” he said.

“I love playing rugby for Scotland, but it’s not every day you get the chance to go the Olympics!”

Bennett featured in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an experience he admits has spurred him on to chase the Olympic dream.

Scotland reached the quarter-final stages of the Games, but the 23-year-old feels the opportunity to play in the abbreviated game projected him on to his best season in the 15-a-side game.

“The Commonwealth Games were a great experience,” said the Glasgow Warriors centre.

“That was what really drove the decision to try and go again here.

“I played pretty well at the Commonwealth Games and off the back of that I had my best season in 15s.

“Let’s hope we can do the same this year.”

Bennett in action at the Commonwealth Games

READ: Two Scots selected for Rio 2016

Bennett admits he had to re-adapt to the demands of the shortened game after not playing sevens since the Glasgow Games, two years ago.

He, alongside his Warriors team-mate Lee Jones, were the only fully-fledged XVs players from Scotland, with a select few from the other nations also joining the training squad in the hope of bagging a spot at this summer’s Games.

As part of the GB 7s programme, the squad have played in four tournaments in Moscow, London, Exeter and Poland, which Bennett believes have helped him get back into shape for 7s.

He continued:

“It has been a hard six weeks, doing the amount of running that these boys are used to.  My lungs have not been thanking me!

“But the tournaments have been great for me to actually experience what’s coming.

"As much as you can do in training, it’s never the same as when you play.

“For me, getting in as much game time as possible was what was needed.”