England bank on youngsters for Paris Sevens

By Alex Dudley

It wasn’t a perfect home leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series for England, and injuries have certainly taken their toll on the squad.

There are seven debutants named in Simon Amor’s squad for the upcoming final leg of the World Series in Paris, with Api Bavadra, Calum Waters and Max Coyle have all been included. Meanwhile, there are also places in the squad for Chris Cook, George de Cothi and Ollie Hassell-Collins. The 13th man in the squad has been named as Will Hendy.

The academy trio of Jamie Barden, Ben Harris and Femi Sofolarin have also been included after impressing during their first outings in the world series last weekend. Meanwhile, it will be a special weekend for Barden, who will captain England for the first time.

Fergus Guiry and Will Glover will also return to sevens for the final tournament of the series. All eyes, however, will be of James Rodwell who will compete in his 93rd and last series of his distinguished career before joining the sevens coaching setup.

Simon Amor was clear about his plan for the upcoming months, and the priorities for the team. Speaking to England Rugby, he said: “Unfortunately we picked up a few more bumps in London so with the Olympic qualifiers around the corner our focus has really turned to getting everyone right for that.

“This gives us the chance to play some really young and talented guys and what an opportunity to make their debuts against Fiji in the first pool game. They will be properly thrown in the deep end, and I am excited to see how they embrace the opportunity. We are obviously grateful to the clubs and schools for allowing them to join us this week.”

England are sitting in fifth place in the standings. The regional qualifiers in Colomiers, France in July seem to be the best bet for England if they are to qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Japan.

Amor’s team have been drawn in Pool A alongside the series winners Fiji, Ireland, and Argentina.

England squad: “Ben Harris, Will Glover, Api Bavadra, Femi Sofolarin, James Rodwell, Jamie Barden, Chris Cook, Fergus Guiry, Calum Waters, Max Coyle, George de Cothi, Ollie Hassell-Collins
13th man: Will Hendy.

Main photo: England Rugby

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