Amor banks on old hands
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: England coach Simon Amor has named an experienced side for the opening round of the 2018/19 Sevens World Series – which takes place in Dubai on November 30 and December 1.
The 12-man squad contains eight players who were instrumental to England’s silver medal success at the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco earlier this year – including Harry Glover, who was named the breakthrough player of the tournament.
Captain Tom Mitchell will be joined by a number of experienced names, including all-time leading try scorer Dan Norton – who has amassed 299 World Series tries in his England Sevens career to date.
After missing out on selection for the World Cup due to injury, Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen and Ethan Waddleton will each make their return for England in Dubai.
Representing the England Sevens Academy in the opening round of this season’s World Series are Charl ton Kerr and Will Muir, who both have experience playing on the world stage with Kerr first featuring on the World Series in March 2017 and Muir at the World Cup this summer before signing a full-time contract with the England squad.
“After a long pre-season everyone’s really excited to get out to Dubai and to get the season up and running,” Amor said.
“We built up some great momentum towards the end of last season which we’re looking to progress this year.
“The motivation of not getting it quite right in the World Cup final against New Zealand is something that’s driven everyone over the past couple of months.”
On selection, Amor added: “We’ve got a very exciting group of fit, young players coming through which is fantastic as it means we have a strong squad to pick from.
“The amount of talent in this group means that competition for places has been really tough which is incredibly important going into a season with Olympic qualification on the table.”
Drawn in Pool D, England will face Canada, Japan and Australia on day one of the two-day event.
Dubai is the first stage of this season’s Sevens World Series which comprises 10 legs, finishing in Paris in June 2019.
The World Series is the primary route for qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the top four ranked teams earning their place.
England is the nominated nation for qualifying Team Great Britain in the same way it was for Rio 2016.
“Every team on the World Series will be aiming for Olympic qualification this season and therefore the key thing is going to be consistency – always striving to be your best and bringing the right mindset every single game and every tournament. The standard of competition is immense so we’re really excited to get going.”
England: Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Charlton Kerr, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Tom Mitchell (captain), Will Muir, Dan Norton, Ethan Waddleton.
Thirteenth man: Richard de Carpentier