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Packer makes England squad for China leg of Sevens World Series

31 March 2014

  • Packer, Burford and Ellery receive call-ups
  • England look to better fourth-place finish in Brazil
England's Megan Ellery

Photo: RFU

England Women's Sevens Head Coach Simon Middleton has made three changes to the team that finished fourth in Brazil for the penultimate round of the IRB World Sevens Series this weekend (April 5-6) in Guangzhou, China.

Middleton has called up Rachael Burford, Marlie Packer and Megan Ellery into the squad, which will once again be captained by Richmond's Abigail Chamberlain.

Wasps' Marlie Packer will mahe her first sevens appearance for England since the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June last year, while both Ellery and Burford last played in the opening leg of the series in Dubai, where England finished fifth.

Middleton said: "We've made some changes again for this leg and I am excited to see how the squad goes. It has been a tough selection as it really has been a tremendous squad effort with everyone contributing to our programme.

"Rachael Burford is a natural replacement for Claire Allan who has picked up an injury and she'll bring a lot of experience to the squad. Marlie was one of the stand out players in sevens last season so it’s great to have her back in the mix and keep her in touch with our Sevens programme, while Megan was unlucky to get injured in Dubai and miss out on the last two legs. She is a quality player with a lot of potential."

England, who take on Brazil champions Australia, Ireland and Fiji in the pool stages in Guangzhou, will be hoping to improve on their best finish of the season so far in Brazil, which saw them lose out to Canada in the third/fourth place play-off.

Middleton added: "We've had some quality time with the players since being in Brazil and that has given us time to reflect on the positives and the negatives of our season so far. We have got a lot still to work on but there is some real talent in this squad who I am confident can help us to keep moving forward.

"Australia are definitely going to be the team to beat I think and that game is going to be a massive challenge but we know what we are going to get from them and we expect to be extremely competitive. Ireland of course will be another tricky team to take on while we know very little about Fiji. They are definitely an unknown quantity."

England Women's squad

 

Natasha Brennan (Richmond)
Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond, captain)
Megan Ellery (Durham University, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Heather Fisher (Worcester)
Francesca Matthews (Richmond)
Sarah McKenna (Saracens)
Marlie Packer (Wasps)
Emily Scott (Thurrock)
Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Danielle Waterman (Bristol)
Amy Wilson-Hardy(Bristol) 

England playing schedule

 

Saturday, April 5

England v Fiji, KO 4:50am BST
England v Ireland, KO 7:34am BST
England v Australia, KO 9:54am BST

Sunday, April 6

Knock-out stages (TBC)