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England make changes for Dubai Sevens title defence

15 November 2012

  • New boys Lightfoot-Brown and Marchon set for debuts in Dubai Sevens
  • Four changes to squad as England chase third successive title in UAE
Ollie Phillips

Photo: Getty Images

England have named two uncapped players in their squad as they prepare to defend their Dubai Sevens title at the end of the month (November 30-December 1).

Half back James Lightfoot-Brown, 19, and wing Ollie Marchon, 24, are set to make their first appearances in the HSBC Sevens World Series.

And also back in the squad are former captain Ollie Phillips – for the first time since 2009 – and playmaker Dan Bibby, who appeared at the Glasgow and Marriott London Sevens tournaments last season.

There are four changes to the 12 that appeared in the Gold Coast Sevens last month with forward Chris Cracknell (knee) and backs John Brake (ankle), Christian Lewis-Pratt (knee/ankle) and Mathew Turner (ankle) unavailable.

England face Pool C opponents South Africa, Samoa and Portugal on the opening day in Dubai with New Zealand, Argentina and Wales among their potential quarter final opponents on day two.

After Dubai, where England lifted the title in 2010 and 2011, the sides head for leg three of the nine event series, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth (December 8-9).

James Lightfoot-Brown

Photo: Getty Images

Lightfoot-Brown is a former England Under 18 scrum half and captained the national side that beat South Africa in the sevens final at last year's Junior Commonwealth Game before signing full time after spells at London Irish and Exeter Chiefs.

Former Newcastle Falcons and Stade Francais wing Phillips, 30, also joined the sevens set-up full time last summer along with Bibby, first capped last season while studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and part of the Great Britain sevens team that won the World University Championships in July.

Marchon, who plays on the wing for National League One side Old Albanians, is called up after impressing in training with the squad this season.

England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan said: "It's exciting to be able to bring in new players from our full-time squad in James Lightfoot-Brown and Dan Bibby, and an experienced campaigner Ollie Phillips who'll all add something to our game. Ollie Marchon comes from outside the group of 19 but he's worked really hard in the three months he's been training with us and thoroughly deserves his chance.

"We're looking forward to returning to Dubai where we get great support and where we've performed consistently well over the last five years but we're under no illusions that we've got three big games on the opening day."

England Sevens squad

Dan Bibby
Chris Brightwell
James Lightfoot-Brown
Ollie Marchon (Old Albanians)
Tom Mitchell
Dan Norton
Ollie Phillips
Tom Powell
James Rodwell
Rob Vickerman (captain)
Marcus Watson
Jeff Williams

Tickets to the Marriott London Sevens, the final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, on May 11-12 next year, are now on sale.