Tom Mitchell returns for England 7s in Dubai leg of the Sevens World Series

England captain back after injury ruled him out of the opening leg in Queensland in October

By Gareth Llewellyn

England 7s captain Tom Mitchell will return to HSBC Sevens World Series action in Dubai.

The 25-year-old, who was the top points-scorer in the 2013-14 Sevens World Series, picked up an injury at the Commonwealth Games campaign in Glasgow four months ago and missed the first round in Queensland.

England head coach Simon Amor is delighted to welcome back his skipper as he named his 12-man squad for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens at the 50,000-capacity Sevens Stadium on the outskirts of Dubai.

“Tom’s a great player, and was rightfully nominated for the World Player of the Year last season, so to have him back in training has been a massive boost,” Amor said.

“It is also good to have Jeff Williams back in the squad after recovering from a knee injury that saw him miss a large part of last season.

“Jeff will add pace, power and energy to our team.”

England finished third in the opening round of the season at the Gold Coast Sevens, and are again expected to challenge for the latter stages of the Cup competition as they look to qualify, on behalf of Team GB, for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

England had to settle for fourth place in Dubai this time last year, losing to runners-up South Africa in the semi-finals before narrowly going down 17-14 to New Zealand in the third-place match.

With a 220-team invitational tournament and the World Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series also taking place in Dubai over the three-day event, England’s task of playing the USA, Kenya and Australia is made even tougher with an eight-hour gap between their second and third matches, but Amor is relishing the challenge of such a physical group.

“It’s a physically challenging pool, but also an exciting one,” he said.

“It’ll be very tough, and I imagine the games will be very close, but our focus is on that first game against USA — a side who have improved hugely — and we want to take a step forward from Gold Coast.”

England Sevens squad for Dubai

Dan Bibby, Sam Blanchet, Tom Bowen, John Brake, Phil Burgess, Alex Gray, Charlie Hayter, Christian Lewis-Pratt, Tom Mitchell (captain), Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Jeff Williams.

Day 1 Fixtures (Friday, 5 December)

USA (07:14 GMT)
Kenya (10:14)
Australia (16:31)

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