England have awarded 17 contracts to support the women’s sevens programme for the upcoming 2017-18 season. All 17 contracts will be full-time and fixed term, running until end of the 2017-18 season.
Eight of the wider 14-player Team GB Olympic squad are named in the Elite Player Squad including, England vice-captain and Team GB captain Emily Scarratt (main picture) alongside fellow Olympians Abbie Brown, Heather Fisher and Claire Allan. Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 finalists and Olympic squad members Natasha Hunt, Emily Scott, Amy Wilson Hardy and Megan Jones are also named.
Existing England Sevens players Chantelle Miell, Deborah Fleming, Holly Aitchison, Katie Mason and Millie Wood have also been awarded full-time sevens contracts. While England Sevens veterans Fran Matthews and Natasha Brennan have both retired from international sevens.
Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 finalists Vicky Fleetwood, Alex Matthews and Lydia Thompson, alongside Six Nations Grand Slam winner Sarah McKenna, are also named as part of the sevens squad for next year.
"... we have an incredibly talented squad and with this season being an exceptionally exciting one for the women’s sevens game with both the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens, our focus will be driven around success at these major tournaments"
The England squad will compete in a number of major global tournaments, starting with the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, followed by the 2018 Commonwealth Games which is set to take place on the Gold Coast in April.
England will then take part in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series before setting off for San Francisco in July for the Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“Since the Rio Olympics 12 months ago the growth of the HSBC Women's Sevens Series has taken international women’s sevens to a completely different level. We are therefore under no illusions as to the challenge we face in reintegrating the World Cup players, getting them sevens fit and building the team, its culture and our systems of play in preparation for the start of the World Series,” said head of England women’s sevens Simon Amor.
“However, we know we have an incredibly talented squad and with this season being an exceptionally exciting one for the women’s sevens game with both the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens, our focus will be driven around success at these major tournaments.”
England squad: Abbie Brown, Alex Matthews, Amy Wilson Hardy, Claire Allan, Chantelle Miell, Deborah Fleming, Emily Scarratt, Emily Scott, Heather Fisher, Holly Aitchison, Katie Mason, Lydia Thompson, Megan Jones, Millie Wood, Natasha Hunt, Sarah McKenna, Vicky Fleetwood.