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England Sevens size up "biggest ever" global campaign

29 June 2012

  • Extra event added to take HSBC Sevens World Series to 10 events
  • England excited about addition of La Plata in Argentina as new venue
James Rodwell in the air at Skilled Park, the venue for the Gold Coast Sevens on October 13-14

Photo: Getty Images

England are preparing for "the biggest ever year for sevens" following the release of the schedule for the 2012-13 HSBC Sevens World Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Head coach Ben Ryan's team kick off an expanded HSBC Sevens World Series in October that includes 10 legs and a new tournament in Argentina.

The series launches on the Gold Coast of Australia on October 13-14 and concludes with the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium on May 11-12. The teams then take a break before heading to the World Cup Sevens in Moscow (June 28-30).

And sevens will be welcomed into the Olympic family after London 2012, making its debut at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Estádio Ciudad de La Plata in Argentina is the newest venue on October 20-21 and its addition means the HSBC Sevens World Series will visit every continent next season.

England, who finished third in the world series in 2012, are in Moscow this weekend of the second leg of the FIRA AER European GP Series.

"It's probably the biggest ever year for sevens," said Ryan.

"The HSBC Sevens World Series is now set up with 10 tournaments in five pairs and visits every continent, the season ends with the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow and we'll be in the Olympic cycle for the first time which all underlines where the sport is going.

"They're passionate about their rugby in Argentina, their sevens side has been doing very well in recent years and with the Pumas entry into The Rugby Championship its a massive year for the sport there.

"We're very excited about the venue too. It looks very similar to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and stages huge events like the Copa America football as well as the Pumas vs New Zealand test in September so there should be a great atmosphere."

England, who have 16 full-time sevens players on their books next season, are defending their Moscow GP title this weekend where Wales, Russia, Georgia, the Netherlands and Ukraine are their pool stage opponents.

They lifted the Lyon title earlier this month following a 26-14 final victory against Portugal in the final.

One late change to the squad - a mix of World Series regulars, new signings and triallists - sees Tom Mitchell replace the injured Sam Edgerley (UCL & Rosslyn Park).

Former captain Ollie Phillips makes his first appearance in England colours since May 2009.

England Sevens (for Moscow GP, full-time contracted players unless stated): Dan Bibby, John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Michael Ellery, James Lightfoot-Brown, Tom Mitchell, Ollie Phillips (Unattached), Jack Preece, James Rodwell, Nick Royle, Jeffrey Williams, Matt Williams (Bristol Rugby).

HSBC Sevens World Series 2012/13
Round 1: October 13-14 - Australia (Gold Coast)
Round 2: October  20-21- Argentina (La Plata)
Round 3: Nov 30-Dec 1 - Dubai
Round 4: December 7-8 - South Africa (Port Elizabeth)
Round 5: February 1-2 - New Zealand (Wellington)
Round 6: February 8-10 - USA (Las Vegas)
Round 7: March 22-24 - Hong Kong
Round 8: March 30-31 - Japan (Tokyo)
Round 9: May 4-5 - Scotland (Glasgow)
Round 10: May 11-12 - England (Marriott London Sevens)

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013
June 28-30 - Russia (Moscow)