Cory Allen has warned Wales they must hit the ground running when they begin their Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign against Zimbabwe in San Francisco this weekend.
Gareth Williams’ side will head to the USA hoping for glory on the global stage and while Allen insists the team can go all the way, they aren’t looking past their first opponents.
Ospreys centre Allen scored a hat-trick for Wales against Uruguay at the 2015 15-a-side World Cup but has also had an impressive career in rugby’s shorter format.
“We can win this competition. Every game is a cup final and we can beat any side on our day,” Allen said.
"There is a real chance for us to build some momentum. Any side in the top 10 could go on a little run and end up being world champions. Our goal is to go out to San Francisco and win every game.”
The 25-year-old Allen insists the change in this World Cup’s format from pool stages to knock-out rugby will benefit his side, but knows full well his team-mates must not underestimate Zimbabwe.
He said: “It is going to be different to previous sevens events because there are no pool stages anymore. In the past you could probably afford to drop a game, but now it’s sudden death and there is absolutely no room for error."
“That first game against Zimbabwe is already a cup final as is every other game. I think it makes the competition even better. The way it is set up this year there are big gaps between games and there aren’t four games in one day."
“Zimbabwe have got some really good individuals who are very fast and physical. It will be a big test for us. We’ve got to be fully focused on Zimbabwe because if we underestimate them, we will be out.”
Allen struggled with injury last season but he hopes intensive pre-season training with Wales Sevens and competitive action will put him in a good place for his return to the Liberty Stadium, alongside fellow Osprey Tom Williams and recently announced Luke Morgan, who will link up with the Ospreys for next season.
“It’s always difficult to go from 15-a-side to sevens rugby. My situation is a bit different this year because I’ve been injured since Christmas,” said Allen.
“It’s not as if I’ve come from playing regularly, so it has been a little bit harder for me initially.”
Wales will kick off their Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign at 22:00 BST this Friday.