- Former Royal Marine will take charge for the first time this weekend in Australia
- 30-year-old former Marine has appeared in 11 World Series tournaments and the 2010 Commonwealth Games
Photo: Getty Images
Greg Barden will lead England in this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series after being named as the side’s new captain today.
The former Royal Marine from Poole takes charge for the first time when England kick off the campaign in the Gold Coast Sevens on Friday.
Barden will be supported by vice captain Rob Vickerman, who joined England Sevens from Newcastle Falcons this summer, with senior player Chris Cracknell next in line when Barden and Vickerman are not on the field.
Head coach Ben Ryan said: “We’ve got a good group of senior players who’ve led the squad well, three of them being Greg Barden, Rob Vickerman and Chris Cracknell.
“Greg has enormous respect from everyone. He’s quiet but when he does speak everyone listens and he leads by example.
“His last appearance for us was in the Hong Kong final when he was absolutely outstanding. He really does epitomise wanting to give everything you possibly can when wearing an England shirt.”
Barden, 30, has appeared in 11 World Series tournaments for England and joined the squad as a full-time player this year after leaving the military. He previously played for Bristol Rugby and Newbury as well as the Royal Navy.
He said: “The captaincy is a huge honour. It’s a big ask from Ben [Ryan] to take on that responsibility but hopefully it’s something I’ll thrive on and enjoy immensely throughout the season.
“Throughout the squad there’s a huge amount of experience that we can draw upon. Rob Vickerman’s been with the sevens before and in the Aviva Premiership with Newcastle and Leeds so his experience is second to none. Chris Cracknell has been in the fold for quite a few years now, James Rodwell’s got 25 tournaments under his belt, the list goes on.”
England trained twice today, first at Surfers Paradise RFC and then at The Southport School - alma mater to Wallabies Tom Lawton, Mat Rogers and Nathan Sharpe - where they played conditioned games against Japan and Fiji.
They face Scotland (3.19am GMT), Tonga (6.25am) and Wales (10.52am) in Pool D on the tournament’s opening day. The top two sides in the pool are likely to face either New Zealand or Fiji in the quarter finals.
Live TV coverage of the Gold Coast Sevens starts on Friday at 6.00am on Sky Sports 4.