England Sevens has named a 20-man squad that will compete at the 2017/2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The squad will also take part at the 2018 Commonwealth games, the Sevens World Cup and Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix.
England will be in action on September 29 at the DHL Oktoberfest 7s in Germany where Uganda will also take part. The Cape Town 7s champions are also set to compete at the Assupol 7s later in October in South Africa where Kenya has also confirmed participation.
Simon Amor’s 20-man squad is split into senior, academy, university and club players while earlier this year senior players Richard de Carpentier, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Charlie Hayter, Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton and James Rodwell signed contract extensions. Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Ruaridh McConnochie and Ethan Waddleton are also retained for next season.
England Sevens introduced an academy programme for the first time in 2015 and following its success has offered full-time contracts for 2017/18 to George Chatterton, Will Edwards, Lailand Gordon, Fergus Guiry, Charlton Kerr, Ryan Olowofela, Callum Sirker and Charlie Spawforth.
Meanwhile, Cameron Cowell who played 38 matches for England on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will return to the 15-a-side game playing for Newcastle Falcons’ senior academy squad this season. Other players who will not be renewing their contracts with the England Sevens programme this season include Jordan Ainslie, Will Attfield, Tom Fitch, Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas and Henry Martin who will all be heading to university.
“This season we have two major competitions in the Commonwealth Games, as well as the Rugby World Cup Sevens and all of our efforts, will be focused on doing our best to win these events," said England Men Sevens head coach Amor.
"This, on top of the 10 legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the international Academy tournaments that we’ll be playing in, demonstrates this season is undoubtedly going to be a hugely challenging and exciting one for this group of players.
“We have an extremely talented squad made up of experienced, senior players who understand what it takes to win competitions, along with a strong group of academy players who we will be looking to develop through the England Sevens pathway into becoming world-class players."
In addition to the full-time contracted players for this season, eight part-time contracts have been offered to university players across the men’s and women’s programmes as a result of the strong relationships that the England Sevens programme has built with selected universities.
Harry Glover, Will Glover, Yaree Fantini and Charlie Kingham will train with the men’s squad when they are not studying, while Jess Breach, Liv Jones, Celia Quansah and Kelly Smith will train with the women’s squad. Both groups of players will compete in international academy tournaments alongside the full-time players.
As a shared agreement with Gloucester Rugby to help develop Mason Tonks, he will also join the England Sevens programme on a part-time basis and will compete in international academy tournaments.
England Men Sevens squad for 2017/18: Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, George Chatterton, Richard de Carpentier, Alex Davis, Will Edwards, Lailand Gordon, Fergus Guiry, Charlie Hayter, Charlton Kerr, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Ryan Olowofela, James Rodwell, Callum Sirker, Charlie Spawforth, Ethan Waddleton.
International Academy Tournaments:
DHL Oktoberfest 7s: 29-30 September
Assupol 7s: 28-28 October
Silicon Valley 7s: 4-5 November
Dubai Invitational 7s: 30 November – 2 December