Zack Test insists he will use his experience at the World Cup as a stepping stone to next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
The USA hooker is a star of the rugby 7’s game — he is America’s record try-scorer on 123 and their most-capped player, with 53 appearances — but he is confident he can make his mark on the 15-a-side competition too.
Test said: "I'm happy with my form going into the World Cup but as a professional you can never be happy with where you are.
"You have to stay hungry to learn and improve with every training session and every game."
Test, 25, was not involved in the USA’s 25-16 defeat against Samoa but he hopes make the squad for Sunday’s match against Scotland at Elland Road. He believes his selection in the squad is a sign of how far he has come after impressing at the 2009 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
"The Maccabiah was an incredible journey,” he said. “I put in lots of hard work and hours which is now paying off.
"This is a very exciting time for me and my teammates. We’ve come a long way since the last World Cup and I believe we have a very good chance to get out of the group.
"We're targeting two wins,” said Test who played against Samoa, his first 15s cap, and Japan at the Pacific Nations Championships.
He says that it felt like “a dream come true” when he was selected for the World Cup squad. “I felt elated to see my name on the roster.
"The World Cup will teach me a lot of rugby knowledge which I can then take back into the 7’s game.
"We've been training with high intensity but not smashing each other up. It’s been about getting confidence and morale high."
Test, who lives in San Diego, took up rugby 10 years ago and started playing 15s in 2010 after a year at Loughborough University where he studied Sports Technology. He took a break from 15s to help the USA 7’s team qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
Looking ahead to Rio, he said: “I’m pretty confident we can win gold if we bring our A-game.
Test has three sisters, including one who lives in Israel, whom he visits regularly, and one who plays rugby at the University of Hawaii.
Asked about the development of the sport at home, He said: "Rugby is the fastest-growing sport in the US and we’re now seeing a dramatic rise at grass-roots level, with five to 10-year-olds playing at school. If we medal at the Olympics it will really take off."