Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Injury prevents Strettle call-up

David Strettle, the winger, agreed to return to England's sevens squad for the World Cup via a request on Facebook from the team's coaching staff.

DUBAI // David Strettle, the winger, agreed to return to England's sevens squad for the World Cup via a request on Facebook from the team's coaching staff. The Harlequins speedster was one of the stars of the code before making a successful step up to England's full squad two years ago, and said yes to a recall on the internet networking site.

However, he is currently on his way back from another in a long line of injuries, and his club side eventually ruled against him returning to Dubai. The prospect of England pitting Strettle, who scored five tries in one half on his IRB sevens debut, alongside Tom Varndell was a mouthwatering one for England's coaches, Ben Ryan and Russell Earnshaw. Yet it is barely a hardship that they are left with the core of the squad who have taken them to the top of the IRB Series - plus the jet-heeled Varndell.

"The likes of Danny Care, Tom Guest and James Haskell are all desperate to play sevens as they all love it," said Ryan. "We are not in the bump and grind of the Premiership, where perhaps they are told not to off-load, or not to run with the ball. Given the chance, they would love to pull on the white shirt." For the first time in Ryan's two-year reign, England are entering a tournament as favourites. Their form over the past month, when they won in Wellington for the first time and reached the final in San Diego, is the best of any of the 24 sides competing at The Sevens. The favourites tag has been hard earned, according to Ryan, and he expects his players to revel in it rather than be burdened by it.

"This side have got the best chance to win the World Cup since 1993," added Ryan. "We know we have got a World Cup-winning side here. "They will have to be absolutely world-class, world champions if they are going to beat us this weekend, and we will take our hats off to them if they manage it." Ryan also believes Varndell will be "a sensation" in harness with the Leeds winger Tom Biggs. "Since [November's Dubai Rugby Sevens] we have lost Uche Odouza, and we knew we needed another class winger.

"We knew one would do the job and Tom was always our first choice. Him and Biggsy are going to be a sensation." @Email:pradley@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National