Consistency key for England

Fri, 12 Oct 2012 11:52
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More consistency is the key for England as they prepare to kick off the IRB Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

More consistency is the key for England as they prepare to kick off the IRB Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

England have picked up individual tournament titles and reached other finals on the way to third-place finishes in the last two seasons.

They start the new campaign with matches against Kenya, Spain and Samoa on Day One at Skilled Park with Australia or Fiji their potential quarterfinal opponents in the first leg of the nine-event global tour that ends with the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham in May.

Head coach Ben Ryan has firepower at his disposal in the shape of Matt Turner and Dan Norton, the top two try-scorers in the world last season.

And adding extra resources to his squad this season – allied to an intense pre-season build-up – makes him optimistic ahead of the world series marathon that is followed by a sprint to the Rugby World Cup Sevens next June.

“I think England are on an upward curve this season and are well placed to do better because we've had increased resources, but everybody knows just having a bigger cheque to plan your squad around doesn't necessarily mean success,” said Ryan.

“We've got a consistent group of players who have worked really hard on how we want to play the game and the penny is dropping for them. As a coach you can see it and I can see that we've got improvements everywhere.”

Former Newcastle Falcons and Leeds Carnegie centre Rob Vickerman leads England into the campaign that has generated extra publicity following sevens’ new-found Olympic status.

“It's no lie to say we're in our best ever shape,” said Vickerman.

“We've got a full-time squad of 19 payers which has added to the competition, the intensity has gone up, we've got more back room staff than ever before and the facilities we've been able to use are top notch.

“We're coming into this series with the aim of being consistent performers whereas before we've been there or thereabouts in one or two tournaments and we want to step that up.

“It's been a long pre-season and we've worked hard and now we want to test out the water. We're getting more coverage than ever before, we've got our own internal pressure and we want that pressure to fuel our excitement.”

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