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England Sevens look for Bright start to FIRA Grand Prix Series

06 June 2014

  • Bright brought in after excellent Greene King IPA Championship campaign
  • England Under 18 duo also included for FIRA-AER European Grand Prix
Henry Cheeseman

Photo: Getty Images

London Scottish captain Mark Bright and England Under 18 players Henry Cheeseman and Cameron Cowell make their England Sevens debuts in Lyon this weekend in the opening round of the FIRA-AER European Grand Prix Sevens Series.

Alex Davis (Loughborough Students), Charlie Hayter (London Wasps) and new full-time signing Tom Bowen, previously of Plymouth Albion, will feature alongside the experienced trio of Chis Cracknell, Mat Turner and Christian Lewis-Pratt.

More game time will also be given to Alex Gray, Sam Blanchet and Calum Wilson as England defend their Lyon title in the first of four European tournaments: Moscow (June 28-29), Manchester (September 13-14) and Bucharest (September 20-21).

England have won the European Grand Prix Series for the past two years and the competition provides an opportunity for young players to gain international sevens experience.  This year, the initial legs also form part of preparations for this summer's Commonwealth Games.

England Sevens Head Coach Simon Amor said of the squad: “Mark Bright has been a stand out performer in the Greene King IPA Championship for many years and been named in the league’s Dream Team for the past two seasons.  

“I know from my days at London Scottish he is an exceptionally physical ball carrier and will add a real presence to our breakdown area while complementing the skill sets of the other players in our squad.

“His inclusion, as well as that of Tom Bowen, shows how well the Championship is doing right now. It is consistently producing very talented players and we are hoping to develop a number of these through England Sevens. 

“Mark has played a lot on the invitational sevens circuit and has captained the Samurai team to success at several tournaments. Sevens is a very natural game for him and I am confident he will pick up our style of attack and defence quickly.

“These FIRA tournaments also give us an opportunity to look down the pathway at some of the young guys coming through as we work closely with the Premiership Academies. Cameron Cowell (London Irish Academy) and Henry Cheeseman (Harlequins Academy) are both still in education (at St. Paul’s Catholic College and Whitgift respectively) and have shown their potential at age grade level and impressed recently in our England IPF development team at the GB 7s series.

“Exposing them to top level sevens in a European competition will be great for their development.  I am delighted to be working with the Premiership Academies to develop young players with real potential for the XVs game.”

England play Belgium (10.00), Scotland (13.00) and Wales (17.06) in the group stage on day one and Amor added: “It is an exciting pool which will provide a stern test for us and some of our new young guys.  It will be good to challenge them and I am excited to see how we perform. ” Amor added.

England Sevens for the FIRA European Grand Prix Sevens Series in Lyon:

Mark Bright
Chris Cracknell
Henry Cheeseman
Alex Gray
Mat Turner
Cameron Cowell
Christian Lewis Pratt
Charlie Hayter
Alex Davis
Tom Bowen
Calum Wilson
Sam Blanchet