England have named their 14-man training group for the final stages of the build-up to this month’s Emirates Airline London Sevens.
England trail series leaders New Zealand by 13 points and are targeting a tournament win at Twickenham Stadium on May 21-22 to keep alive their bid for a first-ever HSBC Sevens World Series title.
London Irish wing Sam Edgerley is the only uncapped player in the group and Greg Barden (Royal Navy) and Simon Hunt (Birmingham Solihull) are back in the fold after representative and Championship commitments.
Mark Odejobi (Brunel University and Esher), who made his debut at the USA Sevens Las Vegas in February, has been ruled out following surgery on an achilles tendon injury, while Hunt is being monitored following a hand injury sustained in a warm-up game last weekend.
The players reconvene on Friday and head coach Ben Ryan will name his final 12-man squad for London early next week. Working with a settled group this season, which includes eight full-time sevens players, has put England on course for their best-ever finish in the 12-year series.
“It looks like we might only use 15 players in total throughout the season and spending time with a consistent and settled group allows us to all work hard and add value,” said Ryan. “This team will continue to get better and that’s the exciting part of all this.
“We’ve had a really good and varied programme in the build-up including training at RAF Halton and RAF Benson and the boys now have a few days off then a busy weekend workload before tapering off towards the tournament.
“We want to get things spot-on for the London. We’re under no illusions about what we want to do. We’re not saying we’re going to win it but if we want to have a chance of taking out the series we have to. It’s now as simple as that.”
Greg Barden (Royal Navy)
John Brake (England Sevens)
Dan Caprice (England Sevens)
Chris Cracknell (England Sevens)
Sam Edgerley (London Irish)
Ben Gollings (England Sevens, captain)
Simon Hunt (Birmingham Solihull)
Ollie Lindsay-Hague (Harlequins)
Dan Norton (Bristol Rugby)
Tom Powell (England Sevens)
James Rodwell (England Sevens)
Nick Royle (England Sevens)
Mathew Turner (England Sevens)
Marcus Watson (London Irish)
HSBC Sevens World Series standings (top five):
1 New Zealand 134pts,
2 England 121,
3 Samoa 100,
4 South Africa 92,
5 Fiji 90.
You can watch England Sevens in action and join the beach party on May 21 and 22 at Twickenham Stadium in the Emirates Airline London Sevens, the penultimate leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Tickets are available from £15 via rfu.com