Varndell returns to England Sevens

Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers) will be back in action for England after being named in the squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens (March 5-7).

The England international (4 caps) last played for the England Sevens side in the 2006 Commonwealth Games (Melbourne) when he picked up a silver medal. But next month the England speedster will be hoping to go one better in Dubai, the same country where his ten try tournament tally earned him the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award on his sevens debut in 2005.

Varndell joins an experienced squad that includes fellow 2006 Los Angeles winner Ollie Phillips (Newcastle Falcons) who will captain the squad and Ben Gollings (Gold Coast, Australia) the IRB’s all time sevens highest points scorer and the only player to have taken part in the last Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2005.

Coach Ben Ryan has retained ten of the squad that won the Wellington tournament earlier this month, including winning try scorer Isoa Damudamu (British Army/London Wasps), with Varndell and Dubai 2008 finalist Josh Drauniniu (Royal Navy/Exeter Chiefs) the only changes.

Said Ryan, “I am immensely proud of the squad’s successes so far this season. This is one of England Sevens’ most successful periods, reaching four of the last five finals going into a World Cup is unbelievably exciting.

“We have a terrific blend of hard work and ability in a very humble squad and I can’t think of a group of people that I would rather go into such a momentous tournament with.”

Alongside South Africa, England currently top the IRB Sevens Series rankings on 60 points, their highest ever half way point position, and are eight clear of third-placed New Zealand.

The last time an England side was ranked number one in the world was in 2003 when England won the Rugby World Cup.

England Sevens squad
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009

Kevin Barrett (Exeter Chiefs)
Tom Biggs (Leeds Carnegie)
Chris Cracknell (Exeter Chiefs)
Isoa Damudamu (British Army/London Wasps)
Josh Drauniniu (Royal Navy/Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Gollings (Gold Coast, Australia)*
Ollie Phillips (Captain, Newcastle Falcons)
James Rodwell (Moseley RFC)
Charlie Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers)
Rob Vickerman (Leeds Carnegie)
Andy Vilk (BenettonTreviso)

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009, Dubai, March 5-7

England fixtures:

Thursday March 5, 2009

England v Hong Kong (kick off 7.30pm local time, GMT +4)

Friday March 6, 2009

England v Tunisia (kick off 11.22am local time, GMT +4)
England v Kenya (kick off 7.06pm local time, GMT +4)

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