February 23rd, 2009
England Women's Sevens Head Coach Simon Amor has today (Monday) announced his squad for next month's inaugural IRB Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens.
Wasps player Sue Day will captain England during the tournament which runs alongside the men's world cup in Dubai from March 6-7th. Day has captained England throughout their sevens journey so far, which has seen England win the San Diego, London, Dubai, Amsterdam, European Sevens and Home Nations Cup.
Day is joined in the squad by Worcester's Jo Yapp. Both players have come out of international retirement to spearhead England's sevens world cup campaign. Both Day and Yapp have competed in three XVs Rugby World Cups before.
The squad has a wealth of experience with Saracens' Maggie Alphonsi, Charlotte Barras, Rachael Burford, Blaydon's Danielle Waterman and Wasps' Michaela Staniford all having competed in the 2006 XVs Rugby World Cup.
Also in the squad is Wasps' Heather Fisher, who clinched the winning try in the sudden death final in San Diego this month, Saracens' Claire Allan, Worcester's Katherine Merchant and Richmond duo Alice Richardson and Emma Layland.
Amor said: "We are really excited that the world cup is nearly here. We think we have given ourselves the best possible chance of winning but with sevens being such a fast and furious dynamic game, anything can happen.
"We were delighted with our win in San Diego earlier this month and how the players stepped up. The coaching team set a lot of challenges for them and the girls embraced them and took everything on board. That made selection very difficult for the world cup and I spent several days deliberating on my final squad."
England kick-off their world cup campaign against the USA on March 6th, and will then take on Russia and Japan on the same day. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will take place on March 7th.
"USA, as our first game, will be very tough," said Amor. "We had to go into extra time to beat them in San Diego so we know they'll be completely up for the game against us in Dubai.
"We know a little about Japan and Russia. We played Japan in San Diego and we saw Russia in action in the European Sevens. Russia showed in the European Sevens they've got some very physical players and some good pace. This is a seriously tough pool, but I'm really pleased about that because we will have to work very hard straight away."
With England's unbeaten record so far, the Red Roses have been tagged as one of the tournament's favourites, but Amor is insistent that there are several teams that could lift the world cup on March 7th.
Amor added: "Other teams to watch are Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They'll certainly be up there and there could well be some surprise packages in the shape of France and the Netherlands. Whatever happens this is going to be an exciting tournament."
England Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens Squad
Sue Day Wasps Captain
Maggie Alphonsi Saracens
Heather Fisher Wasps
Emma Layland Richmond
Charlotte Barras Saracens
Jo Yapp Worcester
Danielle Waterman Blaydon Team Northumbria
Alice Richardson Richmond
Rachael Burford Saracens
Claire Allan Saracens
Michaela Staniford Wasps
Katherine Merchant Worcester
Non Playing Reserves:
Sarah Beale Lichfield
Amy Turner Richmond
England Women's Playing Schedule:
Friday March 6th
England V USA, kick-off 9.12am GMT
England V Russia, kick-off 12.08pm GMT
England v Japan, kick-off 3.26pm, GMT
Saturday March 7th
Quarter, semi and final TBC