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."
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.