- Simon Amor previews the next legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series
- Speaking from Tokyo, Amor talks through the new squad members
Photo: Getty Images
With five tournaments played and four remaining in the HSBC Sevens World Series, we are clear on how we want to attack and defend. The aim in Tokyo and Hong Kong is to perform better in these areas, and to both drill down and fine tune our style of play. We also have four new players coming into the squad, so we have been working hard to get them up to speed.
Since the start of the season we have been looking at ways to integrate England Sevens into the international player development pathway to benefit both this programme and the XV’s squad.
Jack Clifford is an example of this intention. He is an outstanding player who lifted the Junior World Championship trophy as the Under 20 captain last year. We are hopeful that in working in partnership with Harlequins, sevens can help fulfil his undoubted potential.
Jack is a very good ball carrier and reads the game well, but it is his defence that stands out and his ability to turn over ball, which is an increasingly important part of the sevens game. Similarly, Sam Blanchet from Exeter Chiefs Academy is a physical and powerful player. He made the transition from back row to wing earlier in the season and we’ve seen something potentially very special in him.
Sam Stanley has been around for a while with Saracens and is a very talented playmaker, so it will be exciting to see what he will bring to the team. Finally, Jack Walsh is a player I have known for some time. He has been heavily involved with the invitational sevens circuit and understands the game well. It will be interesting to see how he steps up.
We have a good balance of youth and experience
We are confident that they will learn a lot and bring a huge amount as well. They have all earned this opportunity.
We have been drawn in a tough pool for Tokyo, with Scotland, Spain and Australia, so we need to be consistent in our performances if we are to come out in a good place. We arrived in Japan last Friday evening and on Tuesday had a useful training session with the Fiji squad. We’ve stepped up the intensity for mid-week but will begin to ease off as we head towards the tournament.
We will then turn our attention to Hong Kong, which is an amazing tournament with an electric atmosphere.
The history and tradition make it unique and when a whole city stops for a sevens tournament you know you are part of something special. It is a wonderful experience for anyone who gets to play there or be a part of it and hopefully the expat support will be big for us as well.
These next two tournaments provide a great opportunity to see the four new guys in action and it is a huge honour for them to be pulling on an England shirt.
It is a chance for the older players who have a lot of experience under their belts to show them the ropes and lead the way. We have a good balance of youth and experience; it is both a challenging and an exciting time.