England Women sevens head coach James Bailey has named his 12 player squad for the opening leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens series in Dubai 30 November – 1 December (live stream via WorldRugby.org and day two via Sky Sports Action, from 12.05pm).
Claire Allan, Olympian and seasoned England Women sevens player, captains the England side for the first time at a World Series leg and is joined by four Team GB players Emily Scott, Amy Wilson Hardy, Heather Fisher and former Team GB captain Emily Scarratt.
Recent Women’s Rugby World Cup finalists Alex Matthews, Lydia Thompson, who has been nominated as 2017 World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year and Megan Jones, who is set to make her first appearance in the Dubai leg of the World Series, are also named in the squad.
Deborah Fleming and Katie Mason, who both made their World Series debuts in Dubai last year are included alongside Chantelle Miell and Holly Aitchison who will play in Dubai for the first time having made their World Series debuts last season in Sydney and Las Vegas respectively.
England are drawn in Pool B and will kick off the opening day against Russia before facing Australia, who are second in the World Series standings before closing out the pool stages against Japan.
James Bailey, England Women sevens head coach today said “I’m really excited to get the season underway, we have got lots of talent in this side and the raw materials to make a great sevens team.
“Our focus this season is on building towards the Commonwealth Games and the Sevens Rugby World Cup. The women’s sevens game has moved forward since the Olympics, the level of competition at the women’s World Series last year was outstanding. As a new squad coming together this season, our priority has been to focus on how quickly we can build and grow, so that we can perform at this level, against the best teams in the world.
“The World Series will play an important part of our preparation this season, enabling us to continue to grow as a squad, so we are in a position to compete at the Commonwealth Games and World Cup. Dubai is a fantastic opportunity to really test us as a squad; it will be a good marker to get a sense of where we are as a team, what are our strengths and where we need to develop.
“We are really looking forward to getting out to Dubai, it’s a unique tournament and the level of support England teams get from traveling fans and ex-pats makes it so special for us.”
Bailey added: “Claire has a lot of strengths, she is an excellent communicator and a natural leader with a lot of sevens experience. We are confident that Claire will do a brilliant job in leading the team in Dubai.”
England finished fourth in last season’s HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Dubai leg and are currently ranked 8th overall in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series standings.
England Women squad, Dubai
1. Claire Allan (Capt)
2. Alex Matthews
3. Lydia Thompson
4. Katie Mason
5. Emily Scarratt
6. Deborah Fleming
7. Heather Fisher
8. Emily Scott
9. Chantelle Miell
10. Megan Jones
11. Holly Aitchison
12. Amy Wilson Hardy
Schedule Pool B (all times local and games available via WorldRugby.org)
Thursday 30th November, live Worldrugby.org
v Russia KO 12:44 (GMT 08:44am)
v Australia KO 16:02 (GMT 12:02pm)
v Japan KO 18:37 (GMT 14:37)
Report courtesy of the RFU