Underwood inclusion excites Middleton

Feb 2 • General News, International, Sevens Rugby, Sevens World Series, World Rugby • 1557 Views • Comments Off on Underwood inclusion excites Middleton

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Liam Underwood has been named in an extended 13-man squad for the next two tournaments on the HSBC Sevens World Series, after recovering from concussion-related issues.

Underwood did not feature in the first three tournaments in Australia, Dubai and South Africa, and head coach Liam Middleton is looking forward to finally seeing the 23-year-old in action.

“It’s great news for Liam,” said Middleton regarding the call-up of the Ontario Blues player. “He has obviously had a long-term injury with some concussion issues but he returned to play in the last few weeks and I’m really excited about him.

“He’s a really unusual player who has got some aspects of his game that are almost uncoachable. He’s a natural player who has got good pace and having been out of action for a period of time, he’s shown up very well in fitness tests so I’m really excited to get him out there and playing for us.”

Middleton has been forced into changes with half-a-dozen players – including the hugely experienced Phil Mack and Justin Douglas – still sidelined through injury, while stalwart Sean Duke is only available for the New Zealand leg due to medical school commitments.

As well as Underwood, Pat Kay and Jordan Wilson-Ross get a chance to impress Zimbabwean Middleton, who is taking a positive stance despite the setbacks.

“We have got some exciting guys coming through so the more that we can give them first class experience, the more they will grow,” he said ahead of a pool that sees Canada tackle New Zealand, England and Papua New Guinea.

Canada squad: Admir Cejvanovic, Sean Duke, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Harry Jones, Pat Kay, John Moonlight (capt), Pat Parfrey, Conor Trainor, Liam Underwood, Sean White, Jordan Wilson-Ross, Adam Zaruba.

It’s black and white for England new boy Lahmert

Warwick Lahmert is set to line up against his former New Zealand team-mates after being named in Simon Amor’s England squad for the forthcoming HSBC Sevens World Seriestournaments in Wellington and Las Vegas.

Lahmert featured in five tournaments for New Zealand Sevens in 2012/13, but recently took advantage of the new Olympic eligibility rules to switch allegiance.

The recently turned 28-year-old, who is half-English, is joined in the England squad by another newcomer, Worcester back James Stephenson.

England are without Dan Bibby, Sam Blanchet, Sam Stanley, Phil Burgess and Callum Wilson through injury while Dan Norton is absent on compassionate leave.

Head coach Simon Amor said: “We’ve lost some experienced players ahead of this leg, but it’s great to bring back Marcus Watson and we’re extremely grateful to Worcester Warriors and (director of rugby) Dean Ryan for allowing both Richard De Carpentier and James Stephenson to join us.

“It’s also pleasing to bring Warwick in who has World Series experience with New Zealand and has the potential to be a great player for us.”

As well as taking on hosts New Zealand England face pool matches against Canada and Papua New Guinea in Wellington.

Amor added: “It’s a tricky one – certainly; Papua New Guinea are a little bit of an unknown quality but they have a strong Fijian influence and will be dangerous, Canada will be extremely physical and then New Zealand will of course be a real challenge on their own turf.

“It’s a challenge, particularly with the inexperienced group that we have heading out there, but we’ve trained well and it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.”

England squad: Tom Bowen, John Brake, Richard De Carpentier, Alex Gray, Charlie Hayter, Warwick Lahmert, Christian Lewis-Pratt, Tom Mitchell (capt.), James Rodwell, James Stephenson, Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.

Courtesy of World Rugby

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