England name 'strong sevens squad' for Hamilton
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: England Sevens acting head coach James Rodwell has named his maiden 13-player travelling squad for the World Sevens Series tournament in Hamilton, New Zealand on January 25-26.
Captain Tom Mitchell is set for his first appearance of the season following an injury lay-off while Ethan Waddleton returns after being sent home from December’s Dubai tournament with a knee injury.
Academy duo Will Hendy and Alfie Johnson are also included.
Hendy could feature for the first time since the Paris Sevens last year while Johnson will make his senior bow on the World Series if selected in the final 12.
Richard de Carpentier, Tom Emery, Harry Glover, Alex Davis and Will Muir will remain in England to continue their injury rehabilitation programmes.
Drawn in pool B, England take on Japan for the first time this season and are also reunited with Kenya and South Africa after they met in Dubai last month.
England defeated the Kenyans [12-5] and were narrowly beaten by eventual winners South Africa [19-14] in two close and competitive contests.
What’s more, a new format has been implemented for Hamilton and the following leg in Sydney, meaning only pool winners make it through to the semi-finals.
Rodwell, the most-capped player in sevens history, will also be covering the World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in Sydney, Los Angeles and Vancouver as Simon Amor begins his new role with the men’s senior set-up.
He said: “We’re really looking forward to the Hamilton tournament.
“We travel with a strong squad who have worked really hard in the build-up.
“It’ll be interesting to see how the format plays out. It’s a nice challenge to know we’ve got to win the group to progress straight to the semi-finals.
“From a personal perspective, it’s a huge honour to have the opportunity to lead the England Men’s Sevens team at a World Series tournament and as a group we can’t wait to get over to New Zealand.”
England Sevens Squad: Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Will Edwards, Mike Ellery, Ben Harris, Will Hendy, Alfie Johnson, Charlton Kerr, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Tom Mitchell (captain), Dan Norton, Ethan Waddleton
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