England head coach Simon Amor is looking for his side to step up the performance levels with a quick return to action for the third 2014/2015 Sevens World Series leg in South Africa.
Amor’s troops endured a disappointing outing in Dubai last weekend, losing to Argentina in the plate semi-final to leave them sixth in the overall standings following their third-place finish at the Gold Coast opener in October.
The standings carry added significance this season with the top four teams after the season finale in May securing a place at Rio 2016 – England having been chosen as the qualification representative for the home nations.
England get a chance to improve on their current rankings in Port Elizabeth this weekend and are drawn to face New Zealand, Japan and Samoa in the pool stages first up.
Amor has made three changes with Alex Davis, Sam Stanley and London Scottish No. 8 Mark Bright all coming in to replace injured pair Dan Bibby (dislocated elbow) and Charlie Hayter (hamstring) while James Rodwell will continue to be assessed after taking a knock to his ankle.
And Amor is optimistic his entire squad can rise to the challenge, despite the injuries in the camp.
“We know how strong New Zealand and Samoa will be and Japan are also a very capable side,” he said.
“It will be very physical, but we’ll prepare well in training this week and look to perform to our full potential and take a step forward from last weekend.
“Unfortunately our centrally contracted group have suffered a number of injuries but we’re delighted to bring in someone of Mark’s proven ability. He was outstanding for us at the Commonwealth Games and we know that he’ll make a massive impact for us for this tournament.
“Alex and Sam were out in Dubai competing for The Royals, our development side, in the elite invitational tournament, so it will be easy for them to integrate themselves into the squad.”
© Sportsbeat 2014