Turner back for England
Thu, 17 Jan 2013 11:42
It's good to welcome back Mat and Christian, who are influential players
England coach Ben Ryan has made three changes to his squad for next month's Sevens in New Zealand, including South African-born star Mathew Turner.
Turner and Christian Lewis-Pratt return from injury with Sam Edgerley also heading for Wellington for the February 1-2 tournament.
England, who depart for Wellington next week, face hosts New Zealand, the USA and Spain on the opening day of the fourth leg of the Sevens World Series.
And Ryan is happy to have more players becoming available as the injury crisis that struck England in the opening rounds begins to ease.
Turner - last year's leading global try-scorer - broke an ankle in the opening leg of the series in October, while Lewis-Pratt missed out on legs two and three in Dubai and Port Elizabeth with an ankle injury.
Chris Cracknell (knee reconstruction), Tom Mitchell (broken leg) and former captain Ollie Phillips (calf) are sidelined but uncapped forwards Mike Ellery (back) and Jack Preece (knee reconstruction) are close to comebacks and in the final stages of rehabilitation. Also ruled out of the next leg were Mark Odejobi (foot) and Ollie Marchon (ankle).
"We're slowly getting players fit again so by the time we get to (leg six) in Hong Kong we should have everyone available so the outlook's getting brighter," said Ryan.
"It's good to welcome back Mat and Christian, who are influential players, and we'll be easing them back into action in New Zealand.
"But we face a very tough first day in Wellington. New Zealand will be a very difficult assignment in the opening game and the USA and Spain have both stepped up a gear this season.
"We've worked very hard since the last leg in Port Elizabeth and our aim is to continue improving the level of our performance on our previous three outings," he added.
England's recent record in Wellington is good. They won the title there in 2009, reached the semifinals in 2010, were beaten finalists in 2011 and Lewis-Pratt's two tries helped them win the third place play-off against Samoa last season.
England squad: Dan Bibby, John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Sam Edgerley, Christian Lewis-Pratt, Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman (captain), Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.
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