England have named an unchanged squad for next week’s Wellington Sevens as they look to back up winning the last tournament in Cape Town.
Following a third place finish in Dubai and victory the subsequent weekend, England are second in the rankings and have been drawn alongside Papua New Guinea, Argentina and Kenya for the next round of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
“We have a fully fit squad and after a decent outcome from the first two tournaments, we are in a positive place,” said Head Coach Simon Amor.
“There is only a short turnaround between the remaining tournaments and jet lag becomes a significant factor at this stage in the season.
“We’ve had the last block where there was a chance to go hard on fitness so it was great to see so many of the guys getting personal bests in their scores over the Christmas period. Those foundations are now in place, not just for the upcoming tournaments, but hopefully to carry us through the series.”
England finished fourth in Wellington last year, and were runners up in 2015, contributing to a six-year track record of consistently finishing in the event’s top four.
Amor added: “We have traditionally done well in this tournament and have good momentum from December but everyone understands there are big improvements that we must make in certain areas.
“The rest of the world will also have learned a lot from Dubai and Cape Town so we need to keep taking steps forward and be increasingly smarter with our decision making and how we play the game.”
Charlton Kerr will be 13th man for Wellington and Sydney having benefited from the experience of travelling with the squad in Cape Town. The 18-year-old was part of the England Sevens’ Academy side that won both the Singapore Cricket Club Sevens and Dubai International Invitational at the start of the season.
“The young guys are really knocking on the door and looking to prove that they deserve a place on the series,” said Amor. “With depth in the squad, it is exciting that we could have some new caps earned later in the season.”
England Sevens squad for Wellington Sevens
Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Richard de Carpentier, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Charlie Hayter, Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell (c), Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton