England Sevens have increased the size of their full-time squad to 19 and added two new faces to their management team ahead of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
Former World Player of the Year Ollie Phillips, halfback Sam Edgerley and former England Under-20 wing Mark Odejobi have joined the playing ranks.
Head coach Ben Ryan has also added to his backroom staff with the recruitment of Performance Analyst Dan Cooper and Physiotherapist Remi Mobed.
The squad are preparing for the nine-event HSBC Sevens World Series that kicks off with the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia on October 13-14 followed by the Rugby World Cup Sevens next June.
England finished third in last season’s series behind New Zealand and Fiji with Mat Turner and Dan Norton first and second in the try-scoring table with 38 and 37 respectively.
“We’ve made some significant signings both on and off the pitch this summer which is all about increasing competition and driving up standards for what promises to be the biggest season ever for sevens,” said Ryan.
“Ollie Phillips has trained with us over the last year and brings a great deal of expertise and experience to the squad. We’re delighted to be able to award Sam Edgerley a contract after the progress he made in forcing his way into the side at the end of last season while Mark Odejobi is a powerful player who’ll be pushing hard to make selection difficult for us.”
Phillips, 30 last Saturday, was the IRB’s International Player of the Year in 2009 when he captained the side and returns to sevens after spells with Stade Francais and Gloucester.
Edgerley, 20, featured in the last three tournaments of 2011-12 in Tokyo, Glasgow and London, and will continue a German degree at Birkbeck College. Odejobi, 24, made his debut in 2010 and appeared at Glasgow last season. He is completing a Maths and Computing degree at Brunel University.
The off-field recruitment brings in Mobed, who spent three years with London Wasps before three more working with the elite performers at the Cirque du Soleil, while Cooper works for PGIR Limited, the company founded by former Bath and England international John Hall that supplies performance and analysis services to the RFU.
Ryan added: “Our goals are to challenge for world titles and to keep on developing the individuals in this squad into world class sevens players, and adding Remi Mobed and Dan Cooper to our management team means we can focus closely on the fine detail of achieving that.”
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.
Management: Ben Ryan (Head coach), Russell Earnshaw (Coach), Dan Cooper (Performance analyst), Brett Davison (Physiotherapist/conditioner), Remi Mobed (Physiotherapist), Richard Wegrzyk (Masseur), Will Beeley (Team manager), Nadine Cooke (Operations manager).
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