England Sevens get World Cup boost in Lyon(IRB.COM) Monday 10 June 2013
With the Rugby World Cup Sevens fast approaching at the end of June, England's men scored a confidence-boosting victory at the Lyon round of the FIRA European Sevens Grand Prix Series at the weekend.
Ben Ryan’s side fell to one loss on day one of the competition, against Wales, but enjoyed an impressive second day, seeing off Romania in their final pool match before a 21-7 win against hosts France in the semis and a 33-5 victory against impressive Russia in the final.
“It’s great to take this win for the third time in a row and also get a championship win under our belts before Moscow," said coach, Ben Ryan.
“The performances from the boys this weekend has been great and that has given me a real headache ahead of World Cup selection. There are certainly players here who have put their hands up this weekend and it’s going to be a really difficult task to slim this squad down to 12.”
Tom Mitchell led the side, while former England Under 20 captain Alex Gray made his first outing for Ryan since signing a central contract for Sevens.
Eight of the 12 teams playing in Lyon will compete at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow on 28-30 June.
France finished on a high in beating Wales 12-10 to claim third place in front of the 3,000 strong crowd. Portugal beat Scotland 26-7 to take the Plate and Italy beat Germany 15-12 to win the Bowl and finish ninth.
The second round of the Grand Prix Series will take place in Bucharest on 21-22 September.
Brown to lead Springbok Sevens to Rome
Elsewhere in Europe, fit-again Springbok Sevens skipper Kyle Brown will lead an interesting mix of players to the Rome Sevens tournament this weekend.
Ryan Kankowski, Ryno Benjamin, Sampie Mastriet, Sibusiso Sithole and Stefan Basson all return to the team where they first represented their country, while Brown has recovered from ankle surgery and a subsequent knee strain.
Coach Paul Treu is using the Rome tournament as a final trial to settle on his 12-man side to take to Russia.
“Results are not our primary focus in Rome,” Treu said on Monday. “What will be important for us to achieve this week is to get these players Sevens-ready again, as many of them have not played competitive Sevens for a while, despite their impressive fifteens performances.”
France, Italy and Poland are among the other national teams playing in Rome.