Kerr cracks England squad

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 19:21

VANCOUVER SEVENS: Charlton Kerr has been named in the England squad for the sixth round of the World Sevens Series in Vancouver.

The 19-year-old travelled as the 13th man to Las Vegas - a role he also held at the previous three tournaments - but made his debut on Sunday in the final game following an injury to Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Coming onto the pitch with less than 20 seconds remaining, Kerr scored the winning try to beat Australia 10-7 in the fifth-place play-off.

Currently third in the standings, this is the first change England have made to their squad this season having set a new series record in naming the same 12 for five consecutive tournaments.

"Charlton is a talented young player who has lots to work on but has shown his potential in recent England Sevens Academy tournaments and in training," coach Simon Amor said.

"He was still at school last year so to be included for the Australia game put a big beaming smile on his face, never mind scoring the winning try.

"He will be able to get more minutes this weekend and we're looking forward to seeing how he develops. Ethan Waddleton, another young player, is growing with each tournament and it's great to see the continued progression of players from the academy to the senior squad.

"It gives proof to how we identify and develop players and creates an exciting future for the England Sevens programme.

"One of the most pleasing elements of this season is that each tournament has been a complete 12-man effort," added Amor.

"It is unfortunate that Ollie has been unable to recover from a knee injury in time for the weekend, he has been an important playmaker for us this season."

To cover the role of the travelling reserve, Loughborough University student Will Edwards has flown to Vancouver. Edwards, 21, has combined his studies with competing for the England Sevens Academy this season, winning the international invitational tournaments in Singapore and Dubai.

"We are excited about Will and what he offers as a player and it is great to provide him with the chance to experience the World Series' environment," said Amor.

"He has done really well in the academy tournaments and is at one of the four universities who are working with us to offer specialist sevens programmes. His involvement this week shows the strength and benefit of these relationships."

A sell-out crowd is expected at BC Place which, as an indoor venue, will provide very different conditions to those at last weekend's Sam Boyd Stadium and England have been drawn in a pool with series leaders South Africa as well as Chile and Kenya.

"Las Vegas has a very narrow pitch and the strong winds created additional challenges," said Amor.

"We were pleased with how we changed our style of play to handle this. We defended well and attacked with physicality - something we were looking to improve on from previous tournaments. We made a few bad decisions on occasions, which costs us in the quarter-finals, but the commitment and passion from the squad across the weekend was excellent.

"We now switch to an indoor stadium which also has a 3G pitch but one which is much wider, completely changing the game. This creates a lot more space and pace. There are a lot of sore bodies so recovering from the last weekend and then adapting our style back to suit this venue have been the focus of our preparation."

England: Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Richard de Carpentier, Charlie Hayter, Charlton Kerr, Ruaridh McConnochie, Tom Mitchell (captain), Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Ethan Waddleton.

Thirteenth man: Will Edwards (Loughborough University)

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