England confident ahead of Sevens finale
May 12, 2012
Ben Ryan's England are finishing strongly but either New Zealand or Fiji will claim the Sevens crown © Getty Images
England Sevens coach Ben Ryan is confident his side can finish the HSBC Sevens World Series on a high at Twickenham this weekend.
English rugby's HQ will play host to the Series finale for the first time over the next two days with over 100,000 fans set to witness a colourful spectacle and while only New Zealand or Fiji can claim the overall title, Ryan expects his third-placed side to deliver for the bumper home crowd.
His side enter the tournament on the back of a strong showing at last weekend's Glasgow 7s where his charges were beaten by New Zealand to the title. But Ryan is convinced his side are on the right track as they look to replicate their 2009 triumph in the event.
"Last weekend was a big step in the direction of travel for this team and England Sevens," Ryan wrote in his column for RFU.com. "We have always wanted to play a fast attacking style but it has taken time to really hit its straps. It's not a quick fix and it takes time to put in this sort of cultural model into play.
"I guess we put down a major marker of how determined we are to play this way by our approach in extra-time in the semi final against Fiji.
"..We left disappointed but also quietly pleased now we know that our style is bedded in and as more games are played the confidence will grow and we will improve more and more."
England have called newcomer Jeff Williams and former captain Andy Vilk into their squad for a gruelling two days of action after former England U20 wing Mark Odejobi fractured a bone in his foot last weekend. Half back John Brake is also suffering from concussion caused by a blow to the head in the Glasgow final, so both the powerful Vilk and France-based Williams join the group.
"We're lucky to be able to call on two quality players who've spent a lot of time with the squad," said Ryan. "Andy's very experienced with more than 30 tournaments under his belt at this level while Jeff's got a good pedigree, has impressed us in training and by the way he's fitted into our group so well."
England face France (12:42), the USA (16:00) and Samoa (19:28) in today's Pool B matches.
HSBC Sevens World Series standings (top six):
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