- Burgess in for debut tournament as Cracknell returns from injury
- “This is a new team with new ideas” – Simon Amor
Photo: Getty Images
Phil Burgess makes his first appearance and Chris Cracknell returns after a year on the sidelines in the England squad for the opening leg of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
New Head Coach Simon Amor has included both in his first selection for the Gold Coast Sevens that takes place in Australia over the October 12-13 weekend.
England face Spain, France and South Africa in the pool stages at Skilled Park in the first of the global competition’s nine tournaments
Forward Burgess, 25, is in his first season with England Sevens after signing from Greene King IPA Championship side Cornish Pirates and appeared in the summer’s FIRA European Grand Prix tournament victories in Lyon and Bucharest.
Cracknell, 29, successfully returned to action after a knee injury in June and goes into his 30th World Series tournament.
The third change from the squad that reached a summer’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow is a call-up for midfield back Dan Bibby, who appeared in the World Series events in Wellington, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tokyo last season.
Amor is only a week into his tenure but intent of making a positive start.
He said: “We have experience in nine of the 12 who appeared in Moscow but it’s important to recognise that this is a new team with new ideas.
“We are focused on developing our game and changing the way we play, and we will make mistakes, but if we get it right we’ve every chance of being successful.
“It’s good to be able to give Phil Burgess his first appearance at this level and from what I’ve seen in the FIRA tournaments he’s got the potential to be a good sevens international at hooker, particularly with the lines he runs and his work at the breakdown.
“It’s great to have Chris Cracknell back too. It will take time for him to get back to the fantastic form he was in a couple of years ago but we’ve already seen glimpses in Europe of the power he can bring to our game.”
Former London Irish and Saracens wing Marcus Watson also travels with the squad as cover.