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England make two changes for Marriott London Sevens

11 May 2012

  • First chance for centre and comeback for former captain at Twickenham
  • 'We've played some great rugby and want to finish on a high,' says Ryan
Andy Vilk

Photo: Getty Images

England have called newcomer Jeff Williams and former captain Andy Vilk into their squad for this weekend’s Marriott London Sevens.

Head coach Ben Ryan had needed to make one change for the final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series after former England U20 wing Mark Odejobi fractured a bone in his foot last weekend.

But half back John Brake is suffering from concussion caused by a blow to the head in last weekend’s Glasgow final against New Zealand, so both the powerful Vilk and France-based Williams join the group.

England face France (12:42), the USA (16:00) and Samoa (19:28) in tomorrow’s Pool B matches with Fiji or Wales their potential opponents if they reach the quarter finals.

Former Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks centre Vilk, 30, captained England Sevens in 2007-08 before moving to Treviso and has been playing under Neil Back at Rugby Lions this season.

Williams, 23, is a centre with RC Chateaurenard in the Federale 1 division this season who previously played for the Hamiltons club and the Sharks Academy in South Africa.

New England Sevens centre Jeff Williams

Photo: RFU

“We’re lucky to be able to call on two quality players who’ve spent a lot of time with the squad,” said England head coach Ben Ryan.

“Andy’s very experienced with more than 30 tournaments under his belt at this level while Jeff’s got a good pedigree, has impressed us in training and by the way he’s fitted into our group so well.

“We feel we’re on an upward curve at the moment and we played some great rugby in Glasgow so we’re eager to finish on a high at what should be a fantastic occasion at Twickenham.”

England are third in the table behind New Zealand and Fiji going into the final leg of a series in which the eight tournament titles have been shared by five teams.

England Sevens

Dan Bibby (UWIC), Chris Brightwell, Chris Cracknell, Sam Edgerley (Rosslyn Park), Tom Mitchell (Oxford University), Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman, Andy Vilk (Rugby Lions), Jeff Williams (RC Chateaurenard)

HSBC Sevens World Series standings (top six): 1 New Zealand 150pts, 2 Fiji 139, 3 England 123, 4 South Africa 115, 5 Samoa 114, 6 Australia 99, 7 Wales 83, 8 Argentina 77