England face tough draw
Ryan confident ahead of Gold Coast Sevens
Last Updated: September 17, 2012 12:35pm
Chris Brightwell: Will line up for England in the Sevens World Series
England will face Kenya, Samoa and Spain on the opening day of the HSBC Sevens World Series on October 13.
The draw was made on Monday for the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia, the first of nine legs in this season's series which concludes with the Marriott London Sevens next May.
"We're in excellent shape after a very demanding pre-season programme. "
Ben Ryan Quotes of the week
In last season's competition, England finished third, with Samoa in fourth place and Kenya 12th. Spain are a new 'core' team after finishing second in the qualifying competition in Hong Kong this year.
England have an expanded squad of 19 full-time players this season led by head coach Ben Ryan and warmed up last weekend against Spain and France in Villajoyosa.
Ryan said: "We're in excellent shape after a very demanding pre-season programme and standards in the squad have been driven up by the intense competition for places.
"The draw for the Gold Coast brings home just how close we are now to the kick-off of what promises to be the biggest season ever for Sevens. We're in the Olympic cycle now with the HSBC Sevens World Series followed immediately by the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow next June.
"Every draw is a difficult one now: Samoa were tough to play throughout last season, Kenya always give us tough games and we know Spain really well - they've got lots of talent and will want to prove they deserve their place at the top table."
The cross-over for the knock-out stages means England potentially face Australia or Fiji in the quarter-finals if they make it out of Pool C.
Champions New Zealand face newcomers Canada, South Africa and the USA in Pool A while Wales are in a very competitive Pool D with France, Argentina and Portugal.
England Sevens squad: Dan Bibby, John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Chris Cracknell, Sam Edgerley, Mike Ellery, Christian Lewis-Pratt, James Lightfoot-Brown, Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Mark Odejobi, Ollie Phillips, Tom Powell, Jack Preece, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman, Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.