- Richmond centre to lead England in Houston
- England face a tough opener with Netherlands and New Zealand first up
England Women’s Sevens skipper Alice Richardson says she is honoured to be leading her country in this weekend’s World Series in Houston, Texas (Feb1-2), as England continue to build towards this year’s Rugby Sevens World Cup.
Richardson, who takes over the captaincy armband from Michaela Staniford for round two, is leading a side that features some seasoned Sevens players including Staniford, Heather Fisher, Katherine Merchant and Joanne Watmore. Lichfield’s Emily Scarratt has also been named as vice-captain. There’ll also be some new caps with England’s XVs captain Katy McLean set to make her Sevens debut at an IRB tournament alongside Alexandra Matthews and Marlie Packer.
“To be named as captain was quite unexpected to be honest but I am delighted and honoured to have been given this opportunity,” said Richardson, who has six England Sevens caps. “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead a fantastic team and great group of friends. There are lots of leaders in our squad who have different but equally valuable attributes, so it doesn't ever feel like just one person is leading.
“We’ve got an experienced squad but at the same time we have some new players to the World Series, which will make for a good mix as we continue to build our depth ahead of RWC 2013.”
England head into round two of the World Series on the back of a seventh place finish in Dubai after fielding a young side for the series opener. This time around England have more experience but they face a tough start after being drawn against New Zealand, the Netherlands and Trinidad & Tobago in their pool.
“There are no easy games in this series; all the pools are equally tough now,” added the Richmond player. “We know all three games in our pool stage will be hard fought and all the teams have certain strengths and traits but we will focus on our game and what we are about rather than the opposition.
“This is a great team to be a part of and everyone is looking forward to the challenge ahead of us. We always set high expectations but treat every game as a final which I see as important, especially now the series is so competitive and games are won and lost on a single try or conversion.”
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Sarah Guest (Worcester)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Alexandra Matthews; (Richmond)
Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Marlie Packer (Bristol)
Alice Richardson (C) (Richmond)
Emily Scarratt (VC) (Lichfield)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Joanne Watmore (Worcester)
WSWS RND 2 Houston, Texas
England v Netherlands, KO 8.10pm GMT
England v Trinidad & Tobago, KO 10.54pm GMT
England v New Zealand, KO 1.38am GMT
Knock out stages