- Staniford and Chamberlain return for Moscow tournament
- Tuson set to win first Sevens cap
Photo: Getty Images
England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Barry Maddocks has strengthen his squad for this month’s 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying tournament in Moscow by recalling skipper Michaela Staniford and Richmond’s Abigail Chamberlain. There will also be a first cap for Bristol’s Sally Tuson.
England head to Russia for the final round of the European Women’s Sevens Series (June 30 - July 1st) knowing they must finish in the top five to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens, which is also being held in Moscow.
England are in a strong position, heading to the tournament as top seeds following their victory in the first round of the European Sevens Series in Holland at the weekend. They defeated Spain 21-10 in the final on Sunday.
Wasps’ Staniford returns to lead her country for the first time since winning the IRB Challenge Cup Sevens in London in May, while Chamberlain last played in the Amsterdam Sevens last month.
Bristol’s Tuson, meanwhile, will make her international Sevens debut after missing out on round one of the European Sevens Series through illness. Tuson made her international XVs debut at the European Cup in May and impressed, scoring four tries in the three-match tournament.
Maddocks said: “This is a strong squad and it should give us what we need to fulfil our primary aim, which is to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup. It’s great to welcome back both Michaela and Abi who’ll bring a lot of experience and strength to this squad. Both players are used to playing world class international sevens.
“Sally, meanwhile, has shown great promise over the last 12 months, first coming to our attention at the RFUW Open Sevens Trials. She was unfortunate to miss round one at the weekend but after some really impressive performances for the XVs in the European Cup, she has proved she is a strong and powerful runner and now she needs to bring that to Sevens.”
England have been drawn against Portugal, Germany and Croatia in their pool and will join 16 teams vying to finish in the top five to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, including Home Nations Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
Maddocks added: “This isn’t a bad pool and we deserve that after winning the first round of this tournament. Portugal, Germany and Croatia are all relatively unknown to us. We last played Portugal in 2010 and they ran us close – we only won that game with a try in the last minute – so we expect them to be a good side. The most important thing for us in this tournament is qualifying for the Rugby World Cup and anything after that is a bonus.”
Natasha Brennan (Wasps)
Rachael Burford (Richmond)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Sarah Guest (Worcester)
Jane Leonard (Wasps)
Alice Richardson (vice-captain,Richmond)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (captain, Wasps)
Sally Tuson (Bristol)
Joanne Watmore (Worcester)