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Ryan confident in contract benefits

England Sevens coach Ben Ryan is confident the new central contracts system employed by the Rugby Football Union will drive his team's bid for a first world series title.

England started in the best possible fashion on Saturday, bouncing back from the brink of elimination to win the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens - the opening leg of the eight-tournament series. Seven members of the squad that came from behind to beat Samoa 29-21 in a thrilling final have been awarded new England contracts for the season.

They are not lucrative - understood to be worth in the region of £20,000 - but Ryan believes the incentive to be awarded another improved deal next year is key, and he said: "There will only ever be 10 central contracts and we have a lot of very talented players so the guys know they have to perform."

He added: "Our players are not on big-money contracts but they do act as a carrot. If they do enough to impress there could be another contract and maybe more in it for them next year."

The England Sevens budget does not compare with that of South Africa, hosts of next weekend's tournament in George, who work with around £1.5million.

But Twickenham's elite rugby boss Rob Andrew sanctioned greater investment in the programme and Ryan admitted fearing his wrath after England lost for the first time ever to Portugal.

Nathan Martin, the official in charge of the Sevens budget, was sent to Dubai by Andrew to assess England's development following their disappointing fourth place finish at the Commonwealth Games.

But Ryan is convinced he will have left impressed after England scraped into the knock-out stages with a victory over pool rivals Fiji before defeating Australia, New Zealand and then Samoa.

"I hesitate in saying it was a perfect start - but it is a perfect result for us," said Ryan. "We can fight with the best of them and the boys proved that. We were relaxed and we were ruthless and it's a good combination.

"We have a couple of senior management from Twickenham who were just seeing how we have done and hopefully we have converted them. A little investment this year and they are seeing some instant payback, and hopefully it will stir the England sevens beast to be a pretty powerful weapon."

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