England name Sevens squad
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Head of England Sevens Simon Amor has named his 20-man squad for the 2018/19 season which will include the World Rugby Sevens Series and the Rugby Europe Sevens Series.
This season carries added significance in that it is the qualifying season for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and as with Rio 2016, England is the nominated nation to qualify Team GB for Tokyo 2020.
The 2018/19 England Men’s Sevens squad is split into senior, academy and university players. The experienced senior set-up features five Olympic silver medallists from Rio 2016 in Dan Bibby, Phil Burgess, Tom Mitchell, Ollie Lindsay-Hague and all-time leading try scorer Dan Norton.
Additionally, these five players all contributed to England’s bronze medal success at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games alongside Richard de Carpentier, Alex Davis, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover and Ethan Waddleton who are all named in the squad for the forthcoming season.
England ended their 2017/18 campaign with a second place finish at the Rugby World Cup Sevens where all of the aforementioned players – with the exception of Dan Bibby and Ethan Waddleton who were unavailable due to injury – represented their country alongside Will Muir to take home a silver medal and will remain with England for 2018/19.
Will Edwards will this season form part of the core senior group of players as he progresses from the England Sevens academy and Tom Bowen will remain an integral member of the senior set-up after overcoming injuries last season that meant he was unavailable for the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.
“With a number of experienced players remaining with the team and some great young talent joining the programme we’re excited about the season ahead,” said head of England Sevens Simon Amor.
“The way that the World Cup squad performed in San Francisco in July gives us a huge amount of confidence and enthusiasm as we build towards our first World Series tournament in Dubai and begin our preparation for Olympic qualification.
“Every team is going to be aiming for a top spot on this season’s World Series and with quality of sevens increasing year-on-year it’s going to be a challenge that we will relish. We are very clear on what we need to do to achieve this and a huge part of that comes down to consistently demonstrating the right attitude and effort across the entire squad,”
James Rodwell and Charlie Hayter will take on the role of player coaches for the 2018/19 season. England’s most capped player Rodwell, and Hayter who has been with England since 2014 will work with head coaches Simon Amor and James Bailey across both the men’s and women’s programmes with Rodwell focusing on aerials, kick offs and line outs and Hayter on contact and scrums. Former England Sevens player John Brake will re-join the England Sevens programme as academy manager and coach for both the men and women.
Charlton Kerr and Ryan Olowofela who both have experience of playing on the world stage will form an integral part of the England Sevens academy set-up for next season. They will be joined by Jamie Barden, Ben Harris, Will Muir and Femi Sofolarin who were first integrated into the England Sevens academy in the 2018 Rugby Europe Sevens Series where England are currently ranked second.
Harry Glover will remain a part-time member of the England squad while continuing his studies at Newcastle University. The 22 year-old who was named Rugby World Cup Sevens’ Breakthrough Player of the Tournament will train with the men’s squad when he is not studying and will compete in selected tournaments throughout the season.
On the academy and university players, Amor added: “The depth of talent in this group is exceptional and we’re really looking forward to getting the new players on board and seeing what they can each bring to the squad. Harry, Charlton, Ryan, Will Edwards and Will Muir all performed exceptionally well last season and we’re excited to see how their progression continues as they push on for selection on more World Series events this year,”
Elsewhere, Ruaridh McConnonchie has left the England Sevens set-up for Bath Rugby. McConnochie joined England in the 2015/16 season and played at a number of World Series tournaments as well as representing Team GB at Rio 2016 and England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens.
On McConnochie, Amor commented: “We wish Ruaridh huge success at Bath. He’s an outstanding player and achieved so much with the England Sevens. Ruaridh is a great example of the sevens pathway with how he progressed through university to go on and not just play but medal in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Cup before joining a Premiership side,”
England Sevens squad for 2018/19
Jamie Barden, Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Richard De Carpentier, Will Edwards, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Ben Harris, Charlie Hayter, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Charlton Kerr, Tom Mitchell, Will Muir, Dan Norton, Ryan Olowofela, James Rodwell, Femi Sofolarin, Ethan Waddleton