- England has a "special group of players" – Staniford
- England start RWC campaign on Saturday, June 29 against France
England Women’s Sevens captain Michaela Staniford is confident England have the players to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens this week if they deliver performance-wise in Moscow (June 28-30).
Staniford leads an exciting squad that includes six players who featured in the 2009 tournament when England recovered to win the Plate final after losing to Australia in the Cup quarter final. Four years on and Staniford is feeling bouyant about her side.
“I firmly believe this squad is a really special group of players,” said the Wasps player. “As individuals the girls are exceptional athletes, tacticians, decision-makers and above all are mentally strong. Alone these attributes pose such a threat, and we are lucky enough to have 12 players who all possess these qualities.”
A World Cup win will not come easily though and Staniford knows that England will have to be at their best from the first whistle to the last. The runners-up in this year’s Sevens World Series face Japan, France and in-form side Russia, recently crowned European Champions, on Saturday in the pool games.
“Every game at a World Cup will be a massive challenge,” added Staniford. “Russia have built up great momentum throughout the European Series and on home soil will be exceptionally tough whilst you never know what to expect from France and Japan.
“We also know that every second counts in Sevens and especially so in a World Cup. We found that out to our cost in 2009. However, we have learned a lot from losing. Losing does not make you a bad team and we have, without a doubt, come through the process stronger, determined and more hungry to achieve our goals.
“The journey to this World Cup has been an unbelievable experience of which I would not change a minute of but I am happy to say we are now ready for the next step.”
England Women's Sevens
Joanne Watmore (Worcester)
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Marlie Packer (Bristol)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps) (C)
Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Alice Richardson (Richmond) (VC)
Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Claire Allan (Richmond)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)