England Women's Sevens head coach Middleton hoping for more

04 February 2015 / 12:11

England Women’s Sevens head coach Simon Middleton insists his players have learnt their lesson from a trip to Dubai and they will be looking to put that into practice as the World Series rolls into Sao Paulo this weekend.

After a fast start in the Dubai leg of the World Series that saw England Women win their pool, defeat to France saw them dumped out of the Cup competition.

They made the best of a bad situation as they went on to claim the Plate – beating Fiji 19-12 in the final – but there is no doubt that Middleton and co will be hoping for more as the action moves to Brazil.

Abigail Chamberlain has once again been named as captain for the Sao Paulo leg, while England are boosted by the return of World Cup winning captain Katy Mclean, who could make her first start for England since lifting the World Cup in August. If selected, Mclean will also be competing in her first international sevens tournament since the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Also back in the mix for their sevens debuts this season are fellow World Cup-winners Marlie Packer and Natasha Brennan, with Sarah McKenna has also called up to the travelling squad, leaving Middleton delighted with the options available to him.

"The majority of this squad were in Dubai but it is important to have some squad rotation and it is great to welcome Katy, Natasha, Sarah and Marlie into the fold,” he said.

"Katy is obviously a world-class player so it is brilliant to have her experience while I will be looking to Natasha to bring us some of the x-factor we were missing in Dubai on the wing. Marlie and Sarah are, meanwhile, very experienced players.

"We have made a lot of progress since competing in Dubai. That was a really tough competition. I have to say we did a lot of things right, like winning our pool and beating Canada convincingly, but the one game we got wrong was the quarter-final and that was pretty significant.

"Since then, we have being doing a lot of work on ‘game four’ and we are hoping that will make the difference this time around.

"The pool stages will be tough again and South Africa is a side that we haven’t played since I have been here coaching. They don’t seem to get a lot of ball but they are very organised in defence and that is a big strength for them.

"We certainly know what to expect from Canada and Russia and we know we can’t rest on our laurels. We learnt some hard lessons in Dubai and we don’t want to see a repeat of them."

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