Chamberlain relishing captaincy opportunity
- Pool stages will be a massive challenge says skipper
Photo: Getty Images
England Women’s Sevens captain for the opening round of the Women’s Sevens World Series Abigail Chamberlain says she’s got big boots to fill this weekend (November 30- December 2) but she cannot wait to lead England in Dubai.
Chamberlain takes over the captaincy reins from Michaela Staniford, who is part of the England XVs team currently contesting a three-match Test series against the world champions New Zealand in England.
The series opener in Dubai will be Chamberlain’s first ever tournament leading England but she takes over as one of the more experienced heads in a young and experimental squad named by England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Barry Maddocks.
“It is such as honour to take on this role,” said the Richmond player, who was part of the England team which won the IRB Challenge Cup in London and Hong Kong and were crowned European Champions last season. “I know I have got big shoes to fill and it’s a big challenge but I am really looking forward to leading this team.
“The squad is really exciting as we have got some talented young players who know this is their chance to put their hat in the ring ahead of the start of next year when momentum really builds towards the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.”
England head Pool A and face three tough matches against Spain, South Africa and 2016 Olympic hosts Brazil when the tournament kicks off on Friday.
Defending Dubai champions Canada head Pool B and face matches on day one against recent champions of Oceania, New Zealand, round three hosts China and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 hosts, Russia.
Reigning Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Australia will contest Pool C against two core sides set to host rounds of the Series, USA and Netherlands, as well as European powerhouse France.
Chamberlain added: “This is a really tough pool for us. On their day Spain can beat anyone whilst we know playing South Africa will be a tough and physical match. We last played Brazil in London and we know that they have got lots of nippy players who can cause threats all over the park. Certainly the pool stages of this tournament is going to be a massive challenge.”
England Women's Sevens team for Dubai
Natasha Brennan (Wasps)
Abigail Chamberlain (C) (Richmond)
Sarah Guest (VC) (Worcester)
Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Jane Leonard (Wasps)
Sarah McKenna (Wasps)
Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol)
Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Leanne Riley (Worcester)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)
Harriet Millar Mills (Lichfield)
Fiona Davidson (Richmond)
IRB Women’s Sevens World Series
Round 1 – UAE: Dubai, November 30 – December 1, 2012 – 7he Sevens Stadium
Round 2 – USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 – BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 – China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 – Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 – Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 – NRCA Stadium