They say that nothing beats experience but captain James Rodwell is adamant England have the perfect blend of veteran savvy and talented youth to go all the way at the Exeter leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix 7s Series this weekend.
With Olympic qualification on behalf of Great Britain secured at the London leg of the HSBC 7s World Series back in May, England have used the European Series as a proving ground for their talented youngsters.
But in front of a home crowd at Sandy Park this weekend, a number of established stars will make their return meaning the hosts are primed to improve on their fourth and fifth-placed finishes in Moscow and Lyon respectively.
And Rodwell, a veteran of over 60 7s World Series events, is excited to see how a couple of tyros in particular will slot into the mix in the South West.
“We’ve got two young playmakers, in the form of Cameron Cowell and Sam Egerton who have impressed so far,” explained Rodwell.
“Both of them have looked really good in training and it will be interesting to see how they fare with the more experienced guys.
“That should take a bit of pressure of them and hopefully we’ll see the best of them this weekend.
“We’re coming in with no pressure because we don’t have to worry about that Olympic qualification spot – it meant we could use the European Series as a bit of development tool for some of the new, young guys.
“They did really well in Moscow and Lyon – they stood up and put in really good performances in what is a tough environment to come into.
“It will be nice to see how a couple of them will do this weekend mixed in with the older guys.”
To sign off the European Series in style in Exeter, England must first emerge from a pool containing Spain, Italy and Lithuania.
Other than Italy, none of those teams are established rugby nations, but Rodwell claims there is no danger of the Red Rose underestimating their opposition.
“First up we’ve got Italy – we’ve faced them a couple of times in the European Series already,” added Rodwell.
“We also did some training against them last week, so we know about them and they’re going to be a tough side to play first up.
“Then it’s Lithuania and they’re a bit of an unknown quantity for a lot of us, so it’s about how we perform.
“And then we finish off with Spain and they’re pushing for that final European spot at the Olympics so there will be no easy games.”
The Rugby Europe Sevens at Sandy Park, catch them if you can! July 11 & 12. Tickets available from the Exeter Chiefs box office across the weekend. For more details, visit www.exeterchiefs.co.uk
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