Planet Rugby

Four new faces for England Sevens

11th March 2014 12:44


England U20s v Wales U20s Jack Clifford trophy

Included: Jack Clifford

Former England U20 captain Jack Clifford is one of four newcomers named in the England squad for the next two legs of the IRB Sevens World Series.

Harlequins number eight Clifford, who lifted the Junior World Championship title as England claimed the title for the first time last year, is joined by midfield back Sam Stanley (Saracens), back Sam Blanchet (Exeter Chiefs) and half-back Jack Walsh (Blackheath).

All four appeared alongside England's contracted sevens players in the side that beat Wales 31-17 in last Sunday's exhibition game at Twickenham Stadium.

Tom Mitchell leads the team for legs six and seven of the series in Tokyo (March 22-23) and Hong Kong (March 28-30) with England fourth in the overall standings.

"This is a great environment in which a player like Jack Clifford can progress and we're delighted that Harlequins have allowed him to join us for these two tournaments to help further his development," said head coach Simon Amor.

"Sam Stanley, Jack Walsh and Sam Blanchet have all trained with us recently and again we're grateful to their clubs for giving them the opportunity with us for the next two legs of the IRB Sevens World Series.

"They're joining an experienced group of players heading for Tokyo and Hong Kong and everyone in the camp has worked hard to keep driving up standards going into two big tournaments.

"We did reasonably well last time out in finishing fourth in Wellington but we have to keep raising the bar and performing consistently well in the remaining tournaments."

Injured quartet John Brake, Sam Edgerley, Mike Ellery and Jeff Williams are among the contracted players ruled out of the next two legs.

England are due face Scotland, Spain and Australia in Pool D on Day One in Tokyo.

England Sevens:

Dan Bibby, Sam Blanchet, Phil Burgess, Jack Clifford, Alex Gray, Tom Mitchell (Captain), Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Sam Stanley, Jack Walsh, Marcus Watson