Ryan changes two for Wellington leg
January 18, 2012
Tom Mitchell crosses the line for Oxford in the 2011 Varsity Match © Getty Images
England Sevens coach Ben Ryan has opted to make two changes to the squad for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
While Nick Royle and Simon Hunt miss out on selection for the tournaments in Wellington - played over February 3 and 4 - and Las Vegas, taking place between February 10 and 12, Ryan has called on the fit-again John Brake and the uncapped Tom Mitchell.
Mitchell took part in this year's Varsity Match for Oxford University and crossed the line during their 28-10 win. Brake, however, has recovered from a broken finger which meant he missed both the Dubai and South Africa legs of the tournament.
England are just four points off the top of the table behind Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa after the opening three rounds which included their tournament win in Dubai. And Ryan is excited about Mitchell's potential as he embarks on his first tour with the Sevens side
"After the Varsity Match we wanted him to come in and measure himself against everyone else and he's surprised himself and everyone else in the way he's understood things," said Ryan. "He's a bright bloke who can play in a number of positions. He's very quick and has good game understanding and the fact that he's forced his way into a squad that doesn't have any injuries and has won a title this season shows that we're in a position of strength.
"It's good to be able to welcome back John Brake and we're in good shape going to what's been a happy hunting ground for us in recent years at Wellington."
England Sevens: Greg Barden (captain), John Brake, Chris Cracknell, Isoa Damudamu (British Army), Christian Lewis-Pratt, Tom Mitchell (Oxford University), Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman, Marcus Watson (Saracens)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the best images of the weekend
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year