England Women announce sevens squad for 2017/18 season

  • Bailey to take up the post of Women's Sevens head coach
  • Matthews and Brennan retire from international sevens
  • Amor to oversee men's and women's programme

England Women 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 EPS including, England Women vice-captain and Team GB captain Emily Scarratt alongside fellow Olympians Abbie Brown, Heather Fisher and Claire Allan. Women's Rugby World Cup 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 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. 

The England Women sevens 17/18 season will consist of a number of major global tournaments, starting with the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series where England will compete across five stages worldwide, followed by the 2018 Commonwealth Games which is set to take place on the Gold Coast in April."Last season enabled us to unearth new talent in the sevens programme. 

In the summer, England Women sevens will compete in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series and having successfully secured qualification last season, the Rugby World Cup Sevens which will take place in San Francisco in July 2018. 

And James Bailey, who will take up the post of Women's Sevens head coach, believes the experience the younger members of the squad gained last season will be hugely beneficial to them next term.

"Last season enabled us to unearth new talent in the sevens programme and crucially allow younger players to gain invaluable playing experience in major tournaments such as HSBC Women's Sevens Series," sad Bailey.

"We are looking forward to continuing to build on performances from last season and bring this talented group together and start preparations for what will be an exciting season for sevens.” 

Bailey also added: “To the players who have retired from the game, we wish them all the best in their next endeavours, they have been fantastic ambassadors and role models for the sport over the past number of years.”

England Women's Sevens squad will continue to be based and train in Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.

England full-time sevens contracts - 17

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.