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Webber and Norton in England Sevens squad for European finale

05 July 2012

  • Teenager Webber makes first appearance as England chase title
  • Norton back in action as Ryan makes five changes for Odense
Marcus Webber in action for England U18 in 2011

Photo: Getty Images

Teenager Marcus Webber wins a first call-up and Dan Norton returns to action for England Sevens in their final outing of the season in Denmark this weekend. 

Manchester Grammar School student Webber is a utility back and an England U18 and U19 international who won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games sevens title last summer.

The 18 year-old, who also appeared in the LV= Cup for Leeds Carnegie last season, comes into the squad for the Odense Sevens, where England should tie up the European title after winning the first two legs in Lyon and Moscow.

Head coach Ben Ryan adds extra firepower in the shape of Norton, who is one of the stars of the global sevens game after scoring 37 tries on the HSBC World Series this season.

In all there are five changes to the Moscow title-winning side with Tom Powell, Joel Hodgson (Newcastle Falcons) and Aaron Myers (Westoe) also drafted in.

Nick Royle (hand), Jack Preece (knee) and Matt Williams (hamstring) are ruled out by injury while Tom Mitchell and Dan Bibby are part of the Great Britain team preparing for the World University Championships in Brive next week.

“Marcus is the second player after James Lightfoot-Brown from the Commonwealth Youth Games team to step up and they formed the half back partnership in that side,” said Ryan.

“He can play anywhere and first trained with us as a 16 year-old, so we’ve been monitoring his progress and we’re keen to involve him.

“It’s good to have Dan Norton back in action too. He’s had a well-earned rest after his exploits in the HSBC Sevens World Series and we’ll use him sparingly in Odense.”

England use the summer series to integrate new signings into their full-time programme and monitor the progress of up-and-coming players.

The 16-team tournament in Odense sees them face Germany (12:12 BST), hosts Denmark (15:18) and Scotland (18:46) in Saturday’s pool games.

“We’ve won all 14 games we’ve played in Europe so far this summer and we’re keen to keep that run going as long as possible,” added Ryan.

“But everyone will want to stop us. Scotland will bring in their full-strength side you’d expect to see in the World Series and that will be a particularly tough test.”

England Sevens: John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Michael Ellery, Joel Hodgson (Newcastle Falcons), James Lightfoot-Brown, Aaron Myers (Westoe), Dan Norton, Ollie Phillips (Unattached), Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Marcus Webber (Manchester GS & Leeds Carnegie), Jeff Williams.

FIRA AER European Sevens GP Standings: 1 England 40pts, 2 Portugal 30, 3 Spain 29, 4 Russia 27, 5 France 25, 6 Wales 21, 7 Scotland 16, 8 Ukraine 11, Georgia 8, Italy 6, Germany 6, Netherlands 5.