- First leg to kick off in the Netherlands
- Fisher, Scarratt & Waterman return to action
Photo: RFU Archive
Richmond’s Alice Richardson will captain England for the first leg of the European Women’s Sevens Series in the Netherlands on June 16-17.
She takes over the captaincy from Michaela Staniford who is being rested ahead of the second round later this month in Moscow (June 30-July 1st), which also doubles up as a Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 qualifying event.
Richardson, who has 32 caps in the XVs game, will lead a side which includes two players making their England Sevens debuts. Darlington Mowden Park Sharks’ Ruth Laybourn and Bristol’s Sally Tuson have been involved in the Sevens set-up for a year, and most recently made their England XVs debut in last month’s European Championship. Both players impressed during England’s winning campaign and will now get their chance to show what they can do on the international sevens stage.
Heather Fisher, Sarah Guest and Emily Scarratt also return to the squad, while Danielle Waterman, who recently returned from injury to compete in the XVs European Championship, has been named as vice-captain. There is also a call-up for Jane Leonard, who returns after a long injury lay-off.
England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Barry Maddocks said: “Once again we have made some changes to this squad, resting players such as Michaela Staniford and Joanne Watmore, and at the same time bringing in some new players to the fold, who have recently impressed in the XVs game. Alice Richardson will captain the side and this will be her chance to bring her leadership skills to the fore.
“It is also great to welcome back players like Heather Fisher and Jane Leonard who are powerful and impactful players while Danielle Waterman proved she is back to her best in the XVs recently. Natasha Brennan and Kate Hancock have another chance to build on their performances in Amsterdam last month, while it will be interesting to see how Sally Tuson and Ruth Laybourn go in their first international sevens tournament.”
12 of the best European Sevens teams will compete over the two day tournament on Ameland Island hoping to secure as many tournament points as possible ahead of the second round and World Cup qualifying event later this month. England have been drawn in Pool A and will face France, Russia, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden in a competitive group.
Maddocks added: “This is another tough pool for us and we will undoubtedly be tested. Italy are a good footballing side, Russia are strong athletes who are always difficult to play against whilst France can be seriously impressive on their day. We’ll certainly need to take our opportunities to rack up as many points as we can ahead of the second round in Moscow.”
Natasha Brennan (Wasps)
Rachael Burford (Richmond)
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Kate Hancock (Plymouth Albion, on loan at Worcester)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Sarah Guest (Worcester)
Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Jane Leonard (Wasps)
Alice Richardson (catpain, Richmond)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Sally Tuson (Bristol)
Danielle Waterman (vice-captain, Worcester)