Turner returns for England Sevens
England Sevens coach Ben Ryan welcomes back last season’s leading try scorer Mat Turner and Christian Lewis-Pratt from injury for the Hertz Sevens in Wellington, the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series on 1-2 February.
Turner broke his ankle in the opening round on Australia’s Gold Coast in October, while Lewis-Pratt also missed the second and third rounds in Dubai and South Africa last month with an ankle injury. The other change to the squad sees Sam Edgerley come in.
England have failed to reach a Cup quarter final in the 2012/13 Series and Ryan will be hoping the return of Turner – who scored 38 tries last season – and Lewis-Pratt will see an improvement in their fortunes at a tournament they won in 2009.
Ryan, though, will still be without the likes of Chris Cracknell (knee reconstruction), Tom Mitchell (broken leg) and former captain Ollie Phillips (calf), while Mark Odejobi (foot) and Ollie Marchon (ankle) are also now sidelined.
England will face a tricky opening day at the Westpac Stadium, having been drawn in Pool A with hosts and Series leaders New Zealand, the USA and Spain.
“We’re slowly getting players fit again so by the time we get to (round six) in Hong Kong we should have everyone available so the outlook’s getting brighter,” said Ryan.
“It’s good to welcome back Mat and Christian, who are influential players, and we’ll be easing them back into action in New Zealand.
“But we face a very tough first day in Wellington. New Zealand will be a very difficult assignment in the opening game and the USA and Spain have both stepped up a gear this season.
“We’ve worked very hard since the last leg in Port Elizabeth and our aim is to continue improving the level of our performance on our previous three outings.”
England's recent record in Wellington is good. They won the title there in 2009, reached the semi finals in 2010, were beaten finalists in 2011 and Lewis-Pratt’s two tries helped them win the third place play-off against Samoa last season.
England Sevens squad: Dan Bibby, John Brake, Chris Brightwell, Sam Edgerley, Christian Lewis-Pratt, Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman (captain), Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams.