Amor looks to university generation

England Sevens head coach Simon Amor has praised the potential of university sevens after overseeing an inaugural competition at Loughborough University aimed at developing young talent. 

The competition held last week was a key milestone in the  partnership between the RFU and universities across the country, with four sevens ‘hubs’ established at Bath, Durham, Loughborough and Northumbria. 

A side from each university was represented at the event as well as the England Sevens Academy team.

“This is the first season of universities providing specialist sevens programmes and to see it all come together at the tournament was fantastic,” said Amor. 

“We saw a few players really stand out in the competition and we will be inviting them down to train with us which is exactly how we’d like this process to work. There is a huge amount of potential in university sevens.

“This pathway works in many ways for us. It allows students to develop their core skills and understanding of the sevens game as well as giving  academy players an opportunity to combine studies with continued involvement in the England Sevens programme.”

“He is a super talent”

Over half of the Team GB side that won Silver in Rio last summer were university graduates which Amor believes is testament to the talent at university level. 

Loughborough University’s Will Edwards, who made his England Sevens debut this season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, will join up with the squad full time next season, becoming the latest player to have progressed through the university route. 

“He has shone in his performances for the Academy this season and we are genuinely excited by how far he can go in sevens,” said Amor of Edwards.

Edwards made his debut for the England Sevens Academy in Kenya in September before winning the Dubai international invitational tournament with the squad. In March he won his first cap in England’s tournament win in Vancouver. 

“I’m overwhelmed really,” said the 21-year-old who studies Maths at Loughborough and is a product of Saracens Academy.

“I hadn’t considered sevens as a rugby pathway until university and since my initial involvement I’ve loved every minute of it. Having the opportunity to be part of the England set -up has been amazing and I’m hoping I can continue to progress and thrive in a professional environment.”