Sevens squad hit the pub
England have warmed up for next month's Commonwealth Games in Delhi by playing pub sevens.
Coach Ben Ryan on Wednesday announced his 12-man squad for the competition, with Ben Gollings named as captain for what will be his third appearances at the Games. Ryan hoped last month's Middlesex Sevens would provide the team with a crucial warm-up for Delhi but their disappointing quarter-final exit left them short of game time.
"We didn't get the time on the pitch that we wanted from the Middlesex Sevens," said Ryan. "It was obvious we needed more so we entered the Harpenden pub sevens and played seven games there."
He added: "We romped through it and that gave us some good game time. It was a nice experience and the boys enjoyed it.
"The reaction to us was positive. Once the other teams had run off their hangover from the night before, they gave us some decent opposition.
"We played the Marauders and Samurai and put 40 points on both, but it was good to practice different things and it enabled us to develop relationships on the pitch."
England's squad is full of sevens regulars and promising young talent but other than Gollings, it is bereft of established names.
Players such as Mathew Tait and Danny Care helped them win silver in Melbourne four years ago and while Ryan accepts England do not possess the same quality as 2002 or 2006, he still expects them to challenge for gold.
"My expectation is the same as any England coach and that's to win every game and win a gold medal," he said. "We don't go in as favourites as New Zealand have four All Blacks in their squad and have a very settled squad.
"Samoa are the best in the world at the moment and they have the same side. Those two teams are the favourites and we're behind them, but that's not to say we don't expect to do well and get on the podium."