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GB Sevens name squads for Moscow

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Several stars of Aviva Premiership Rugby will be on show this weekend for Great Britain Sevens, as they compete together for the first time this weekend as part of their ongoing preparations for the Rio Olympic Games.

Harlequins’ Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Wasps’ Joe Simpson, and Newcastle Falcons’ Marcus Watson will all be in action in Moscow for the opening round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Sevens Series.

The wider training squad gathered on Monday and two teams are entered in the event, playing as the GB Lions and GB Royals. 

Each team features players from across the unions, with coaches Simon Amor and Gareth Williams considering a number of factors in their selection.

Team GB Sevens Head Coach Amor said: “It’s been a very exciting first few days, the talent is exceptional and the way the guys have trained in the sessions shows real intent. They are bringing out the best in each other.

“We’ve put a big focus on the importance of an extraordinary GB spirit.  The players have really embraced that and everyone knows we are on a unique and special journey together over the next seven weeks.

“There was a clear criteria for the two squads. Firstly, it was about the GB feel and making sure there was a good combination of the home nations in each team.  Secondly, we wanted to look at certain combinations and specific positions. 

“Heading into this first tournament, we also have some guys on limited game time as they return from injury, so someone like Cory Allen needs to be partnered in a squad with a player in the same position who can do a full 14 minutes. 

“We need to manage players through this event as a three-week intense training block follows and we want them fresh for what will be a very competitive phase in our preparations.”  

The squad have only had three training sessions together but already Amor is excited about their potential. 

“The rugby we’ve seen in the past few days has been of an incredibly high standard and we are looking forward to putting that out on the field in Moscow,” he added. 

“Mistakes will be inevitable, given the limited time together, but we will have a very simple approach to attack and defence. The biggest thing we are looking for is that hunger and desire to work for each other and GB.”

The GB Lions play Portugal, France and Poland on Saturday and the GB Royals face Georgia, Lithuania and Russia. 

To have a focused look at the players in a busy playing schedule, Amor will lead the Lions, with Williams in support, and vice versa for the Royals.  The two coaches will then switch squads for day two.

Exeter (9-10 July) and Gdynia (16-17 July) are also part of the Grand Prix Series and for this season the GB Lions and GB Royals have taken the places of Wales and England. 

As a result Rugby Europe has stipulated that players cannot interchange between the two teams for the three competitions.

“The players named in the Royal and Lions must now remain in those sides for the three tournaments, which is a challenge for us,” said Amor. 

“We have the advantage of Sevens and the City to mix the groups up but from what I've seen of training in the last few days it is evident that this will be a very competitive environment to test different combinations.

“As a programme we have overcome a lot of challenges in the last nine months by adapting well and with integrity.  The ability to handle these situations will be a big positive for us come Rio. With sevens being in the Olympics for the first time there is much unknown for all the competing squads. 

“It will be different to what everyone on the circuit is used to and these experiences will stand us in good stead for that.”
 
GB Royals     
Cory Allen
Tom Bowen
Alex Davis
Jamie Farndale
Alex Gray
Warwick Lahmert
Ollie Lindsay-Hague
Ruaridh McConnochie
Luke Morgan
Scott Riddell
Joe Simpson
Luke Treharne (c)

Fixtures (all times in BST with a live stream available via www.rugbyeurope.tv)
9.28am v Georgia
12.28pm v Lithuania
3.28pm v Russia
 
GB Lions            
Mark Bennett
Dan Bibby
Phil Burgess
Sam Cross
James Davies
Richard de Carpentier
Lee Jones
Gavin Lowe
Tom Mitchell (c)
Dan Norton
Mark Robertson
Marcus Watson
 
Fixtures (all times in BST with a live stream available via www.rugbyeurope.tv)
8.22am v Portugal
11am v France
2.22pm v Poland

The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s kicks off on 22 July with the Final at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday 7 August. For tickets and dates click here

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