England Men Sevens head coach Simon Amor has named his side to play in the HSBC London Sevens this weekend at Twickenham Stadium (live on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event on Saturday and Sky Sports Action and Main Event on Sunday).
Phil Burgess will captain the side in his 50th tournament and five players are set to make their London debuts including Jamie Barden, Tom Emery, Ben Harris, Charlton Kerr and 13th man Femi Sofolarin.
England’s experienced regulars Richard de Carpentier, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Dan Norton and James Rodwell have also been included while Tom Mitchell is not available for selection due to injury.
Rodwell will play in his last HSBC London Sevens tournament before retiring at the end of the season. He broke the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearance record by playing his 90th tournament in Hamilton this season.
The London leg is the penultimate stop on the sevens series with England drawn to play New Zealand, Scotland and Ireland in Pool C.
Simon Amor said: “The opportunity comes around once a year to play at Twickenham and everyone is buzzing about that, particularly when we have got five players in the squad who are playing there for the very first time. To make their London debuts in an England shirt will be pretty special.
“Unfortunately our story this year has been of injuries with seven highly-experienced players out but what that does is provide a huge opportunity for the young ones which is really important for us as we grow this programme going forward and they will be guided by some very experienced players.”
On Burgess’ 50th tournament, Amor said: “Phil Burgess getting his 50th is pretty exciting and special. To do that this weekend in front of his friends and family will be so important to him and to all of us. It will be an amazing experience.”
On Rodwell’s final London tournament Amor added: “The word legend is thrown about too much these days but for somebody who is the world’s most capped sevens player and to have played the most consecutive tournaments in the world, that word is more than apt.
“He has been absolutely instrumental in everything that the sevens programme has done over the past 10 or 11 years. For him to start to bow out at Twickenham, in particularly in this current role with so many young players coming through, his ability to guide them as a coach off the pitch but also in this situation where we have injuries to guide them on the pitch is an amazing opportunity for these young guys to learn from one of the best there has ever been.”
England finished in third place at the last series event in Singapore beating USA 7s 28-7 in the Bronze Final.
England currently sit fifth on the circuit leader board, 14 points behind South Africa with Paris the last tournament of the season next weekend (1- 2 June).
England Men Sevens squad for London
Phil Burgess (captain)
Richard de Carpentier
Femi Sofolarin (13th man)