England Sevens name new squad
May 18, 2012
Matt Turner was one of the stars for England this season © Getty Images
The England Sevens squad will be boosted by extra resources on and off the pitch next season.
A further four players have been handed full-time contracts, taking the squad from 12 to 16 for next season, while assistant coach Russell Earnshaw has been given a full-time role after previously combining his work with that of director of rugby at Birmingham Solihull.
Dan Bibby (UWIC), James Lightfoot-Brown (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Mitchell (Oxford University), Marcus Watson (Saracens), Jeff Williams (RC Chateaurenard) and forwards Mike Ellery (Moseley) and Jack Preece (Birmingham Solihull) are all awarded new contracts. Former captain Greg Barden, who has retired, hooker Simon Hunt and wing Nick Royle have all left the squad.
Despite their disappointing end to the season at the London Sevens, England finished third behind winners New Zealand and Fiji in this year's HSBC Sevens World Series. And head coach Ben Ryan is confident the experience many of the players have gained will put them in good stead to challenge next season.
"Being able to keep the bulk of this season's squad together and add new faces is good news for us in terms of maintaining momentum, increasing competition and driving up standards," said Ryan.
"We believe we can maximise their potential and turn them into world class sevens players. Some of the new full-time players have already gained experience in the HSBC Sevens World Series; others will make their debuts in Europe this summer and they're all part of the next chapter for England Sevens."
England Sevens squad: Dan Bibby, John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Chris Cracknell, Mike Ellery, Christian Lewis-Pratt, James Lightfoot-Brown, Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Tom Powell, Jack Preece, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman, Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery