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England Women name squad for IRB Dubai 7s

14 November 2011

  • Staniford and Green to spearhead young England squad
  • England set to take on the best in world sevens

The England squad to compete in the first ever IRB-sanctioned Women’s International Sevens tournament on December 2 and 3 in Dubai has been announced.

The tournament, which will be integrated into the second round of the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series, will see some of the top women’s international teams go head-to-head.

2009 Rugby World Cup Plate champions England will join the likes of Sevens world champions Australia as well as South Africa, the USA, Canada, Brazil, China and Spain who’ll all be competing for the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup crown.

With England also competing in a three test series against world champions New Zealand in England in the XVs game at the same time, Head Coach Barry Maddocks has selected a relatively young squad. Sonia Green and Michaela Staniford are England’s most experienced players and will spearhead the campaign, with Staniford being a survivor of England’s 2009 RWC Sevens campaign. Jennifer Brightmore, Sarah McKenna and Isabelle Noel Smith, who all made their England debuts this year, are also named in the squad.

England Head Coach Barry Maddocks said: “With several uncapped players in the squad and with an average age of just 23 I am extremely excited about the potential of this team. We have some exciting youngsters with a promising future in Sevens and alongside them we have some experienced players who I and Susie Appleby (Assistant Coach) have been working with for the last three seasons. This tournament will provide them with the opportunity to show how they can perform at this level ahead of the World Cup Sevens in 2013 and also us with the opportunity to see where they are.”

Dubai represents the first step in the IRB’s strategy to develop a new IRB International Women’s Sevens Series. This exciting addition to the international women’s rugby calendar is a milestone on the road to Rio 2016, the first Olympic Games for both men’s and women’s rugby since the IOC overwhelmingly voted to include the sport.

“I am extremely pleased the IRB have sanctioned this event and provided an opportunity for the game of Sevens to grow,” added Maddocks. “Dubai will no doubt help to raise the standard and the profile of the game leading into the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 but also looking further ahead to the Olympics in 2016.

“There are some seriously strong teams in this tournament with world champions Australia in the mix with the likes of Canada, Spain and the USA who will all have their strongest teams available. For us this will be an extremely important tournament to look at certain players at this level. It will be a tough tournament and certainly a step up for England but one that the team and management staff are looking forward to.”

England Squad

Jenny Brightmore (Worcester)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
Sonia Green (Saracens)
Sarah Guest (Worcester)
Charlotte Keane (Worcester)
Sarah McKenna (Wasps)
Sophie Nicholas (Richmond)
Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
Joanne Watmore (Worcester)