England bank on experience for Dubai
SEVENS SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Simon Amor has named an experienced England Sevens side for the opening tournament of the 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai on December 1-2.
Drawn in Pool B, the experienced group – captained by Tom Mitchell – will play Spain, France and Scotland on day one.
The squad features a strong contingent of players who consistently competed on the World Series last season and were instrumental to England’s second place finish.
Commenting ahead of Dubai, England Sevens head coach Simon Amor, said "There’s a lot of excitement about the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens, which in addition to the World Series make this a huge season for sevens. For us to build momentum going into these pivotal tournaments it’s important for us to focus on giving our very best performance in Dubai as the number one priority.
"After a long pre-season for our senior players we’ve prepared well and want to kick-start this season in a really positive way,"
Harry Glover, who made his World Series debut in Las Vegas in March 2016, is named for Dubai with Amor adding: "After impressing on the World Series at the back end of last year and in the recent academy tournaments, it’s fantastic to have Harry Glover involved in the senior squad for Dubai.
"Harry has shown some outstanding touches as a player which we’re excited to see him translate onto the world stage in Dubai,"
Injuries to Dan Bibby (left arm) and Alex Davis (left hand) mean that the pair will not represent England for this tournament while they continue their rehabilitation.
"It’s disappointing that we have a couple of injuries in Alex and Dan who will both hopefully be back for Sydney and Hamilton, but this provides a great opportunity for Ben Howard who was brilliant for us in Munich at the Oktoberfest Sevens recently," said Amor. "We’re grateful to Worcester Warriors for their support in releasing Ben for his first World Series tournament,"
For the first time two men’s and women’s teams will travel to Dubai to represent the England Sevens programme across the World Series and invitational tournament. Captained by Charlie Hayter, the England Sevens men’s academy will compete under the banner of The Royals where they will play Free Sevens, Speranza 22, and Zambia 7s.
Commenting on the invitational tournament, Amor said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to defend the title that The Royals won last year out in Dubai, but more importantly our academy programme is set up to find and develop young talent both within and outside of the England Sevens programme.
"It’s great to get some of the university boys involved and the tournament will also provide Charlie Hayter with some consistent game time as he makes his return from injury,"
England Sevens: Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Richard de Carpentier, Will Edwards, Harry Glover, Ben Howard, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Tom Mitchell (Captain), Ruaridh McConnochie, Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton
England Sevens academy: Jordan Ainslie, Fin Dewar, George Di Cothi, Yaree Fantini, Lailand Gordon, Will Glover, Fergus Guiry, Charlie Hayter (captain), Charlie Kingham, Ryan Olowofela, Charlie Spawforth, Mason Tonks