ENGLAND Sevens Coach Ben Ryan today (Friday) announced his 12 man squad, including Gloucester centre Jack Adams, who will represent England at the forthcoming IRB World Seven Series tournament in Dubai.
According to Ryan, the squad is a combination of young talent and experience with lots of potential. Players such as Sale Sharks' Andy Vilk and Ben Foden and powerful Gloucester centre Jack Adams are all experienced sevens players. For Andy this will be his third appearance at the Dubai tournament and his first as captain.
Young emerging talent, Matt Banahan, Antony Elliott, Tom Youngs, Joe Simpson and Liam Gibson will be keen to show off their skills and earn their first England caps.
With players like David Strettle, James Haskell and Nick Abendanon now holding England senior honours after being noticed in last seasons tournament, it's a very exciting time for this squad, if these young players can perform and impress they have every chance of following in their predecessors' footsteps.
Ben Ryan said, "This seasons squad will start as underdogs against the top four sides in the world series. New and unproven, the squad has players with immense potential to move through into the very top of the senior game.. It's time now for these players who have been identified as having this to step up and put potential into actual. It's a hugely exciting time."
Dubai 12 man squad:
Jack Adams (Gloucester Rugby)
Matthew Banahan (Bath Rugby) *
John Brake (Northampton Saints)
Isoa Damudamu (Newbury Blues)
Antony Elliot (Newcastle Falcons)*
Ben Foden (Sale Sharks)
Liam Gibson (Plymouth Albion)*
Tom Guest (Harlequins)*
Simon Hunt (Ebbw Vale)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps) *
Andy Vilk, Captain (Sale Sharks)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)*
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.