Source: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Constant Change – The best Recipe for Sevens?

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In announcinhis squad to compete in the World Series Sevens in Malaga, James Rodwell has continued the policy of the last few years in adding new names to the mix.

A ‘core group’ of ten was introduced in December. They are: Isla Norman Bell, Abbie Brown, Abi Burton, Grace Crompton, Megan Jones, Emma Uren, Alicia Maude, Jodie Ounsley, Celia Quansah and Amy Wilson Hardy.

The last four are missing from the trip to Spain.

To complete the squad Ellie Boatman, Heather Cowell, Tatyana Heard, Chantelle Miell, Kelly Smith and Georgina Tasker are added.

Of them only Tasker and Heard are new names on the 7s front. Like her Gloucester-Hartpury colleague Kelly Smith, Tatyana Heard lost her placement in Red Rose planning for 15s. It is excellent to see both of them restored to England colours. Heard has been playing outstandingly well for the Cherry-and-Whites.

20-year-old Georgina Tasker is a relatively new addition to Loughborough Lightning’s ranks. Her absence with the 7s won’t help them in their struggle with multiple injuries.

It remains to be seen whether the policy of operating a core group with unpredictable additions and subtractions can work profitably in the short run-in to the Commonwealth Games in July. Rodwell admits: ‘We are starting on a new journey…’. The question is why he cannot speak of a natural development or continuous progress. The England programme seems to exist in a state of constant flux.

Other leading nations in this field attempt to establish a recognised squad as early as possible. New Zealand announced a number of new recruits to their thriving set-up, but it’s unlikely they will be figuring in many 15s matches in the interim. Most of the permanent members of the England squad have appeared in the cut-and-thrust of the AP 15s this season.