- Ryan - London 7s has gone through the roof
- Competition for final squad place fierce
England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan has asked his team to respond to their home support with fine performance as they prepare for this weekend's Marriott London 7s, the final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Speaking at the tournament launch Ryan said: "We want to continue playing that brand of rugby that hopefully will be synonymous with England Sevens over the next few years. We just want to keep improving, and for us that means putting on a good performance in London on Saturday and Sunday and finishing the season in style."
This weekend's event will be Ryan's sixth London 7s, during which time the popularity of the event has grown exponentially.
"London 7s in the last five years has just gone through the roof," said the 41-year-old. "30,000 in my first London tournament and now we’ll be at 100,000, 110,000. I’m always very proud to take an England side out, even prouder to do that at Twickenham and what we always want it to give everything, to play for the shirt and to remember how lucky we are to be representing our country.
One member of Ryan's squad who won't be taking to the Twickenham pitch is Mark Odejobi, who has been ruled out of the Marriott London Sevens after sustaining a broken bone in his foot.
Team mate Isoa Damudamu meanwhile – injured in last month’s Army v Navy Babcock Trophy match – faces knee surgery and a long spell out of the game.
Former England Under 20 wing Odejobi was hurt after coming off the bench in the second half of England’s 40-7 victory over Kenya on day one at Scotstoun.
Photo: Getty Images
It leaves Head Coach Ben Ryan with one place to fill in the 12-man squad for the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham this weekend.
Former captain Andy Vilk, veteran Simon Hunt and newcomer Jeff Williams, a centre who played in the French Federale 1 league with RC Chateaurenard this season, are all in contention for the final spot as England aim to take another step forward after beating Australia, South Africa and Fiji before falling to champions New Zealand in the final.
“It’s a tough break for Mark who’d come back from injury and trained hard with us – and he was only on the field for three minutes,” said Ryan.
“But we’ll go with what we’ve got and bring in one of the three who’ve been training with us regularly.
“Andy Vilk and Simon Hunt are experienced sevens internationals who’ve played and won big tournaments with England while Jeff has impressed us with the way he’s fitted into the group in the last month.”
Fijian-born soldier Damudamu has been a major presence in the England Sevens side since making his debut in 2007.
Photo: Getty Images
He returned from the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens last month to play for the Army but dislocated his left knee and suffered ligament damage that will require extensive rehabilitation.
“Damu sent us a good luck message last weekend in Glasgow and the thoughts of everyone in the England squad are with him,” said Ryan.
“He’s held in high regard around the world as a great player and a great ambassador for the sport and I know everyone involved in sevens wishes him well.”