Deborah Fleming and Holly Aitchison become the first of the established England 7s stars to opt for a return to 15s. And who do they join? Saracens, of course. Only the best will do, though Deborah has every excuse – she is a long-term Saracen.
She has been England’s first-choice flyer for several seasons. Let’s assume she’ll find her place on the right wing of the Sarries’ outfit, as we can hardly expect to see Lotte Clapp warming the bench.
Holly’s prime position is fly-half where she has performed outstandingly for the Red Roses, winning a placement in the HSBC Dream Team at the Kitakyushu Sevens 2019. But she has operated at scrum-half too, showing her skill-range and adaptability.
So she slots in at No 10 – or does she? There are already two seasoned internationals lined up for that position: Zoe Harrison (24 caps for England) and Lisa Martin (50 caps for Scotland). So who goes where? Rotation hardly fits the bill.
It was always on the cards that the Red Rose 7s squad would look for pastures new, if only to be able to pull their boots on again. Holly (from Firwood Waterloo) is one of the two players whose original clubs were consigned to the Championship in their absence. The other is Alex Matthews (Richmond).
These significant moves reopen the possibility of the top 7s players coming into consideration for selection for the World Cup. It would certainly enhance the attractions of the RWC if all the great players around the globe had the option of competing.
So there are three Red Rose Sevens players now committed to the Prem 15s; Jodie Ounsley signed for Sale in late July. This can only raise the standards and the excitement. But we still don’t know when club rugby will be allowed to start.