England Sevens head coach Simon Amor said he will be giving young players playing time when the penultimate tournament of the HSBC World Sevens Series kicks off in London this weekend.
The England squad have a number of exciting talents making their world series debut. They include Jamie Barden, Tom Emery, Ben Harris, Charlton Kerr and 13th man Femi Sofolarin- all of whom Amor is keen to see in action.
“The opportunity comes around once a year to play at Twickenham and everyone is buzzing about that, particularly when we have got five players in the squad who are playing there for the very first time,” Amor was quoted saying by EuroSport. “To make their London debuts in an England shirt will be pretty special.
“Unfortunately, our story this year has been of injuries, with seven highly experienced players out, but what that does is provide a huge opportunity for the young ones, which is really important for us as we grow this programme going forward, and they will be guided by some very experienced players.”
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This London Sevens tournament is even more special considering it will be the last time veteran James Rodwell will be playing at Twickenham stadium. The 34-years-old Rodwell, who is the most capped sevens player of all time, will be retiring at the end of the season. And Amor hopes young players can emulate the veteran.
“The word ‘legend’ is thrown about too much these days but for somebody who is the world’s most-capped sevens player [Rodwell] and to have played the most consecutive tournaments in the world – that word is more than apt,” Amor added.
“He has been absolutely instrumental in everything that the sevens programme has done over the past 10 or 11 years.
“For him to start to bow out at Twickenham, in particular in this current role, with so many young players coming through – his ability to guide them as a coach off the pitch but also in this situation where we have injuries to guide them on the pitch is an amazing opportunity for these young guys to learn from one of the best there has ever been.”
England are fifth in the world series standings on 107 points, 14 points behind fourth placed South Africa (121). England’s hope to achieving automatic qualification depends on them outperforming South Africa in the remaining two tournaments in the world series to secure fourth position.
England have been drawn against New Zealand, Scotland and Ireland in Pool C of the London Sevens tournament.