Marcus Watson heads to South Africa as part of an unchanged Sevens side

England have named the same squad that lifted the Dubai Sevens title last weekend for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth that kicks off tomorrow.

Head coach Ben Ryan keeps faith with the 12-man group with forward Chris Brightwell the 13th man who can be called on if England suffer any injuries during the tournament.

Half-back John Brake is still sidelined by the broken finger sustained on the eve of the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia a fortnight ago.

England, second in the HSBC Sevens World Series rankings, face the USA (10.21 GMT), Samoa (13.27) and Argentina (17.54) in three tough Pool A encounters on the opening day.

Ryan is pleased with the commitment he’s seen in training with his players all fighting for places in the starting line-up.

“We’re in a good situation because of the competition within the squad,” he said. “We used the same starting side in all six games in Dubai. They’ve been playing against our reserves and there’s been a real cutting edge in training.

“No-one thinks they’re God’s gift and everyone wants to start. We all know it’s on  e last tournament and we’ll give it everything and then have our rest over Christmas. The group we’re in will take any chance of complacency away. Samoa, Argentina and the USA are all sides who have beaten us in the past three years.

“Everybody will want to have a crack at us now but we think we’re on an upward curve. We need to be consistent and that means performing well at lots of tournaments.”

This is the first time three tournaments have been played back-to-back in the World Series and when England return home on December 12 they will have travelled more than 33,000 miles on 10 separate flights across a dozen time zones in less than four weeks.

Ryan said: “The boys were pretty fatigued after the [Dubai] tournament, then by travelling for 17 hours to Port Elizabeth, so lots have been stretched on the treatment table and massaged but all in all they’ve handled it pretty well and I’m sure we’ll be at full throttle on Friday.”

England Sevens XII:
Greg Barden (captain),
Chris Cracknell,
Isoa Damudamu (British Army),
Simon Hunt,
Christian Lewis-Pratt,
Dan Norton,
Tom Powell,
James Rodwell,
Nick Royle,
Mathew Turner,
Rob Vickerman,
Marcus Watson (Saracens)

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