Henry Paul has been described by coach Mike Friday as one of the best sevens players in the country
ENGLAND Sevens coach Mike Friday has named his 12-man squad for the opening two legs of the IRB Sevens in Dubai and George - and has included four players from Gloucester.
Skipper Simon Amor will be joined in the squad by club mates Henry Paul, Will Matthews and Luke Narraway in an exciting and experienced squad.
Tom Varndell of Leicester Tigers, who will also appear on the bench for England this Saturday against Samoa, has also been named in the sevens squad.
Mike Friday is excited about seeing Tom in action in Dubai: "Tom is incredibly quick and is the leading try scorer in the Guinness Premiership. We call him the racehorse as he is tall, slim and very fast just like Red Rum.
"His call up to the senior squad is a reflection of the outstanding season he is having and I am looking forward to seeing how he copes with the intensity of international sevens. It will be a steep learning curve for all of the new players as they will be playing in front of a noisy 30,000 crowd and they will have to learn very quickly how to handle the heat and physical demands of sevens.
"This really is an exciting, raw team for England as we have three uncapped players and four who have only played a handful of tournaments but I am sure they will rise to the challenge."
Speaking on the selection for the both tournaments Mike Friday said, "It was a tough selection process as we have a number of exciting and talented youngsters who could have stepped up to the plate and made the final squad.
"This is a transitional period for the England Sevens squad as a number of our experienced players have progressed to the senior England squad, which is great news, but I am pleased that we still have a backbone of experienced players such as Simon Amor, Ben Gollings and Henry Paul.
"Henry is one of the country's best sevens players and I am thrilled that he is back within the squad. I am very grateful to the Premiership club directors of rugby for releasing the players and am confident that every single player will benefit from the experience of representing England in the IRB Sevens."
Greig Laidlaw skippers the Cherry and Whites on Friday evening, when they head to Sale Sharks for the penultimate game of this season's Aviva Premiership. The Scottish half back spoke to GRTV about the challenge posed in Salford.
Previewing Friday night's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Sale Sharks, Head Coach Laurie Fisher acknowledged the fine home record that the Salford based outfit have built up this season, but is looking for Gloucester to round off their campaign on a high note.
Speaking to GRTV following the 16-9 victory over Exeter, Tom Savage felt that Gloucester needed that win after a tough few weeks and hopes that it acts as a springboard to a good end to the season for the Cherry and Whites.
A week on from '...letting down ourselves, the jersey and the supporters...', skipper Greig Laidlaw was full of praise for his team mates following the 16-9 Aviva Premiership win over Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm on Friday evening.
With Gloucester looking to bounce back after exiting the European Rugby Challenge Cup last Saturday, Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media that the visit of Exeter Chiefs on Friday evening (kick off 7:45pm) will be a big test of character for the Cherry and Whites.
Rob Cook couldn't hide his disappointment when he spoke to GRTV following the 21-23 defeat at home to Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday, stating that Gloucester simply hadn't been good enough on the day as their reign as European Rugby Challenge Cup holders comes to an end.
Four penalties from the boot of skipper Greig Laidlaw were just enough to see Gloucester dog out a tense 12-11 win at Sale on Friday evening and thwart the home team's attempts to finish the season unbeaten at home.
Thirteen years on from Gloucester Rugby's famous Powergen Cup victory over Northampton at Twickenham, many of the players and management from that side are gathering once more to recreate that famous day.