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England Sevens add two new faces to experienced squad for Hong Kong and Tokyo

08 March 2012

  • Walker and Edgerley add to options in HSBC Sevens World Series
  • We've been working harder than ever to put things right, says Ryan
Charlie Walker in action for England U20

Photo: Getty Images

England have named a 13-man squad including two new players for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

England Under 20 centre Charlie Walker (Harlequins) makes his debut at the Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens (March 23-25) and half back Sam Edgerley (Rosslyn Park) will take over from Isoa Damudamu (British Army) at the Japan Sevens the following weekend.

England are fourth in the series behind New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa after five of the nine events which included their tournament victory in Dubai in December.

Captain Greg Barden leads a settled squad – including nine of England’s contracted sevens players – that has been working hard in training to close the gap on the series leaders having lost by a single score in the knock-out stages in both Wellington and Las Vegas this year.

The three-day, 12-team tournament sees England play Argentina (12:30 GMT) on March 23, and Kenya (03:20) and Samoa (11:30) on March 24 before the following day’s knock-out stages.

Head Coach Ben Ryan said: “The margins between the sides at this level are very small but we’ve come up short a couple of times. We haven't spent the last month changing anything but we’ve been working harder than ever at this phase of the season and making sure everyone is doing everything they can at the highest standard possible.

“The whole squad are in superb shape physically and we’re really focused on putting things right, starting in Hong Kong which is a home from home for us. We all want to improve on last year's final appearance and we know we’ll get fantastic support from a huge ex-pat crowd."

Walker made his senior debut for Harlequins last September and has appeared in all three Under 20 RBS 6 Nations games so far this season, scoring three tries.

Edgerley, a former England Under 18 wing who has moved to scrum half, has trained with the national squad all season.

“I have tracked Charlie's progress for last few years and I’m sure he’ll be a real asset to us for the next two tournaments,” said head coach Ben Ryan.

“He’ll fly out to link up with the squad immediately after the Under 20s finish their RBS 6 Nations programme against Ireland.

Sam Edgerley

Photo: Getty Images

“We’ve talked to his club and to the national under 20 coaches and we all believe he’s an exciting prospect and that his development can only be enhanced by taking part in these tournaments on such a big stage.

“We’re all delighted for Sam Edgerley who’s been pushing hard for a place all season.

“He’s been rewarded for the progress he’s made and he’s been outstanding in a very competitive training environment in the build-up to two key tournaments.”

England Sevens squad: Greg Barden (captain), John Brake, Chris Cracknell, Isoa Damudamu (British Army), Christian Lewis-Pratt, Tom Mitchell (Oxford University), Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman, Charlie Walker (Harlequins). Sam Edgerley (Rosslyn Park) will replace Damudamu for the Japan Sevens in Tokyo.

HSBC Sevens World Series (top eight, after five events): 1 New Zealand 92pts, 2 Fiji 87, 3 South Africa 76, 4 England 74, 5 Samoa 69, 6 Australia, France 52, 8 Wales 51.

Tickets are now available for the Marriott London Sevens weekend on May 12 & 13 2012.  For the month of March category 2 weekend passes are available for just £20. Single day tickets start from £18 and kids tickets at £5 each day. To book visit Ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 847 2492. (Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).

 

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