London Sevens: England can take confidence into home tournament

Simon Amor pleased to have fully fit squad ahead of the HSBC Sevens World Series finale at Twickenham this weekend

By Gareth Llewellyn

Simon Amor believes England can take confidence into the Marriott London Sevens this weekend after a third-place finish in Glasgow on Sunday.

The England Sevens head coach saw his side defeat the USA 24-19 in the third-place play-off at the Glasgow Sevens to follow up their first Cup win in this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series in Tokyo last month.

Despite the result, the Red Rose boss concedes that he was disappointed with some of the performances over the course of the weekend, as they drew 17-17 with Australia in the pool stages on day one and lost 5-0 to England in the Cup semi-final on finals day.

“To come third is pleasing, but I’m a little bit disappointed with some of the performances,” Amor said.

“Defensively for large parts this weekend we were very, very good, and it gives us good confidence going into the Marriott London Sevens next weekend.”

With Australia failing to make the Cup semi-finals with defeat to the USA on Sunday morning, New Zealand became the third country to book their place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

There was some good stuff, but we can be certainly be a lot better next weekend.

Simon Amor

England’s run to third place means they moved up to 117 points, 16 points clear of Australia ahead of the final round of the World Series, all but securing Team GB’s qualification for the inaugural rugby sevens event.

But Amor echoed England captain Tom Mitchell’s assertion to The Sport Review last week that qualification is not in their minds ahead of their home tournament.

“We haven’t thought about Olympic qualification all year,” he added.

“Team GB is still trying to decide what it looks like. We’re honoured to be the team representing Great Britain to qualify and we’re doing our very, very best on behalf of all the home nations to do that.

“It’s about focusing on ourselves; how can we improve, how can we be better? There was some good stuff, but we can be certainly be a lot better next weekend.”

As well as determining the fourth nation to qualify automatically for the Olympic Games, the London Sevens will also crown the World Series champions with Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand separated by nine points.

It’s good to have everyone back fit now. We’ve got a 12 that will be fit for London and that’ll be exciting.

Simon Amor

While the Olympics may not be on the mind of England’s stars, they could play a role in determining which of sevens rugby’s big three nations comes out on top.

After an injury-hit campaign, Amor has named an unchanged squad for the first time this season to take on Scotland, Kenya and non-core nation Brazil at a sold-out Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

And the England boss admits that the 12 players given the honour of running out in front of friends and family at the national stadium is the best he has had to play with after a troubled start to the campaign.

“This is pretty much our best squad,” Amor said.

“We really struggled from the first tournament for the first six or seven, where we were down to the bare bones.

“The way the guys fought in that period – it was a tough time – was really encouraging.

“It’s sevens, it sport – it happens on occasions.

“It’s good to have everyone back fit now. We’ve got a 12 that will be fit for London and that’ll be exciting.”

England squad for Marriott London Sevens: Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Richard De Carpentier, Alex Gray, Charlie Hayter, Warwick Lahmert, Tom Mitchell (captain), Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.

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