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Brake leads England Sevens in Moscow

24 June 2012

  • Brake takes charge of team for second leg of FIRA series
  • Phillips back in England shirt for first time in three years

John Brake will lead England for the first time when they defend their Moscow Sevens crown in this summer’s FIRA AER European Grand Prix Series.

John Brake leads England at the Moscow Sevens

Photo: Getty Images

The 24-year-old from Farnham takes over from Rob Vickerman for the second of the three legs (June 30/July 1) after helping England claim the Lyon title earlier this month.

There are six changes to the squad with former World Player of the Year Ollie Phillips pulling on an England shirt for the first time since May 2009.

Michael Ellery and James Lightfoot-Brown – who signed full-time England Sevens contracts this summer – make their first appearances since joining from Moseley and Exeter Chiefs respectively.

Head coach Ben Ryan also adds in England’s most-capped sevens forward in James Rodwell and two other HSBC Sevens World Series campaigners in half back Sam Edgerley and forward Chris Brightwell.

Those taking a break after playing in Lyon are full-timers Vickerman and Tom Powell, former captain Andy Vilk (Rugby Lions), Joel Hodgson (Newcastle Falcons), Aaron Myers (Westoe) and Sam Shires (Ealing).

England lifted the Lyon title following a 26-14 final victory against Portugal. They take on Wales, Russia, Georgia, the Netherlands and Ukraine in the pool stages in the Moscow tournament that takes place over the June 30/July 1 weekend.

Ollie Phillips is back in the England Sevens squad

Photo: Getty Images

Head coach Ryan said: “Lyon ticked every box that we wanted – we won all seven games and defending our title was great.

“We managed to get every player out on the pitch in every game and that gave lots of new full-timers the opportunity to get plenty of pitch time. We had a couple of more experienced players steering the ship and then some guys that we're trying from outside the system who also went really well like Joel Hodgson and Matty Williams.

“For Moscow, we're going to be mix it up a bit more. There are more full-timers in this squad but it gives the new guys the chance to play some more and get to know them.

“Out of the squad go the likes of Tom Powell and Rob Vickerman but when you've got the likes of James Rodwell coming back in, it really helps to keep the quality going.

“We're also going to be looking at Ollie Phillips again, who spent time with us last season before playing in the Aviva Premiership for Gloucester, so he'll make his re-entry into the side in Russia too.

“And then we've got still got Nick Royle, who was the tournament's leading try scorer with 40 last year in Europe. He's leaving us later in the summer and I'm sure he'll pick up a contract in the Super League after going out in a blaze of glory.”

England Sevens (full-time contracted players unless stated): Dan Bibby, John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Sam Edgerley (UCL & Rosslyn Park), Michael Ellery, James Lightfoot-Brown, Ollie Phillips (Unattached), Jack Preece, James Rodwell, Nick Royle, Jeffrey Williams, Matt Williams (Bristol Rugby).