- England start season in Dubai on 30 November
- Squad named for HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens series opener
- Bailey looks forward to special Dubai outing
Ahead of the opening round of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens series in Dubai on 30 November, captain of the England Women Sevens squad Claire Allan reveals her route to representing her country.
From why she loves sevens, to playing at the Olympics, this is her journey so far.
What do you remember about the first time you played sevens?
"It was such hard work, I'd never felt so out of breath in my life. I really enjoyed it as it was really expansive and just very, very tiring."
Can you describe your route into England sevens?
"I started playing when I was 12 and back then it was all tag or 15s rugby so that was how I started, and then I got picked up through England who had a sevens team so I went down that route. "I love the fact you've got to put everything on the pitch."
From the moment I played I knew it was the game for me. I love the fact you've got to put everything on the pitch, it's absolutely exhausting and there's no real hiding, you've got to be an all round player - you've got to be good at your passing, your tackling, you've got to be fit or you get found out.
"I first started playing England sevens in 2008 with Simon Amor and Mike Friday and then I've gone between sevens and 15s.
"I went to the 2009 World Cup which was in Dubai, the 2013 World Cup in Moscow and then I got a sevens contract for the Rio Olympics. I got injured at the beginning of last season so this is my first tournament back post injury."
What do you enjoy most about the sport?
"The fact that it's so hard definitely does bring a closeness to your team. You go through a lot and you put a lot of time, effort and energy into training and out on the field so it definitely brings the squad closer.
"There are only 12 of you who travel in the squad so it tends to be a lot closer friendships and I really, really like that - I've made some of my closest friends from playing sevens."
How would you sell the game to someone new?
"It's very quick, it's very fast, there are hardly any stoppages in play so it is non-stop. One team can have the ball one minute and next minute the opposition could be scoring a try down the other end.
"There are a lot more tries scored, it's very skillful and it's enjoyable to watch and play."
What’s the most memorable game you’ve ever played in?
"In the 2009 World Cup in our pool stages against USA where we won 19-0. We were in Dubai so it was boiling hot and we had a really important match against them.
"It was just one of those games where everything seemed to go really, really right everyone was doing things properly, everything seemed to work and I remember coming off the field thinking that was almost our perfect game of rugby so that was definitely one that stands out."