New faces in England Sevens squad
November 15, 2012
Former IRB Sevens Player of the Year Ollie Phillips is back in the England squad for the latest event in Dubai © Getty Images
Former IRB Sevens Player of the Year Ollie Phillips returns to the England squad in one of several changes made ahead of the latest World Series event in Dubai later this month.
England Sevens coach Ben Ryan has also named two uncapped players - half back James Lightfoot-Brown and wing Ollie Marchon - and recalled playmaker Dan Bibby for the defence of their Dubai Sevens title with the battle for the Series title set to resume on November 30-December 1.
There are four changes to the squad that appeared in the Gold Coast Sevens last month with forward Chris Cracknell (knee) and backs John Brake (ankle), Christian Lewis-Pratt (knee/ankle) and Mathew Turner (ankle) unavailable.
Lightfoot-Brown is a former England U18 scrum-half and captained the national side that beat South Africa in the Sevens final at last year's Junior Commonwealth Game before signing full time after spells at London Irish and Exeter Chiefs.
Former Newcastle Falcons and Stade Francais wing Phillips, 30, also joined the sevens set-up full time last summer along with Bibby, first capped last season while studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and part of the Great Britain sevens team that won the World University Championships in July. Marchon, who plays on the wing for National League One side Old Albanians, is called up after impressing in training with the squad this season.
Ryan said: "It's exciting to be able to bring in new players from our full-time squad in James Lightfoot-Brown and Dan Bibby, and an experienced campaigner Ollie Phillips who'll all add something to our game. Ollie Marchon comes from outside the group of 19 but he's worked really hard in the three months he's been training with us and thoroughly deserves his chance.
"We're looking forward to returning to Dubai where we get great support and where we've performed consistently well over the last five years but we're under no illusions that we've got three big games on the opening day."
England face South Africa, Samoa and Spain on the opening day in Dubai with New Zealand, Argentina and Wales potential opponents if they progress to the quarter-finals. After Dubai, where England lifted the title in 2010 and 2011, the sides head for leg three of the nine event series, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth (December 8-9).
England Sevens squad: Dan Bibby, Chris Brightwell, James Lightfoot-Brown, Ollie Marchon (Old Albanians), Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Ollie Phillips, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Rob Vickerman (captain), Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams
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