- England put finishing touches to RWC Sevens selection
- Allan to captain England
England Sevens’ Claire Allan says she and her teammates will be pushing one last time for Rugby World Cup Sevens selection at this weekend’s European Sevens Series in Marbella, Spain.
Allan, who is captaining England in the final round of the series, is one of nine changes to the team that won the opening round in France earlier this month. Head Coach Barry Maddocks has chosen to leave behind several experienced names and instead has given opportunities to the likes of Sally Tuson and Emily Scott who have a handful of Sevens caps between them.
Lauren Cattell, Julie Hope and Amy Wilson Hardy are also set to make their Sevens debuts Cattell has seven XVs England caps whilst Wilson-Hardy has played for England U20s and the Sevens Development team. Hope, meanwhile, impressed at the England Sevens Open Trials this year.
“I feel very grateful Barry has asked me to captain this squad, and it is something I'm extremely proud about,” said Allan, who is hoping to compete in the RWC 7s in Moscow (June 28-30). “It's a big responsibility, especially following in the footsteps of the world class Sevens players captains like Michaela Staniford, Katy McLean and Emily Scarratt.
“We have lots of new names on the team sheet. There is a huge amount of talent and flair between them. The new caps have all come through the England Player Pathway and they deserve a shot in Marbella; Cattell is a great footballer with a quality skill set, Pope has impressed with her attack and pace and Wilson-Hardy is a very natural rugby player, with great attacking finesse. This is a great opportunity for them, and all of us in fact, to show what we have to offer and push for a World Cup spot.”
England are reigning European champions and although they will be determined to defend their crown the priority for this tournament will be preparing for the RWC 7s.
Allan added: “This is our last chance to iron out the creases against some tough opposition. We’ve reached the business end of the season now and I can't wait. The squad has trained extremely hard for the RWC and in the process we have developed an unbreakable bond. Playing at the pinnacle of your sport, with your best friends, is something I am honoured to be part of.”
England are set to take on Portugal, France, Germany, Ireland and Scotland in the pool stages. They head into the final round as top seeds and with 20 points after their win in Brive, whilst Russia sit second and Spain third. The overall series winner will be determined by the team with the highest points total over the two rounds.
Claire Allan (Richmond, captain)
Lauren Cattell (Saracens)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
Sonia Green (Saracens)
Julie Hope (Carlisle)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield, vice-captain)
Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)
Sally Tuson (Bristol)
Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)