Staniford aims for double success in London

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 9 May 2012
 Staniford aims for double success in London
Staniford joined England captain Rob Vickerman at the launch of the 2012 Marriott London Sevens

Rob Vickerman will not be the only captain leading out England on home soil at the 2012 Marriott London Sevens on 12-13 May.

Michaela Staniford, captain of the England Women's Sevens side, will also have the privilege of running out on home soil as the third IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup takes place alongside the men's competition.

England have reached the final in both of the previous IRB sanctioned events, in Dubai where they lost to Canada, before proving too strong for Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Australia to lift the trophy in Hong Kong after an enthralling 15-10 victory.

Staniford, who was present at the launch of this weekend's tournament at the London Eye, is hoping to make it a third successive final, and second Cup victory. 

“We have reached the last two Challenge Cup finals but have only won one of them so the girls are not fully satisfied,” said the England skipper. 

“Without a doubt this squad, which has been further strengthened after Hong Kong, have the ability to get to the final and win but we all know Sevens can be a brutal game.

"What may seem like a small error can easily be capitalised on by the opposition. We need to focus on our game and have the ability to perform game after game. Good teams win games, world class teams repeatedly win finals and that’s what we are aiming for.”


Head coach Barry Maddocks has named a strong squad, boosted with a handful of Six Nations winners, and England are in Pool A with South Africa, Kazakhstan and Olympic Games 2016 hosts Brazil.

“This is another tough pool for England,” added Staniford.

“South Africa are the team that jump out at me. They have been developing at an impressive rate over the past few years and definitely our toughest opponents in Dubai, where we only won by two points.

“Kazakhstan have a very athletic side with a fantastic work rate and a never die attitude which they demonstrated in the XVs World Cup in 2010.

"Sevens is certainly the perfect game for these girls who love to run with the ball. Like Kazakhstan, Brazil and England have not met on the Sevens circuit yet so we need to expect a very competitive pool stage for England.

“We learnt very quickly in Dubai last year that the women’s international Sevens circuit is as competitive as the men’s World Series"

With the London Sevens last year attracting a record crowd of 100,000 people and this year’s 70s disco themed event set to be even bigger and better.

The pool games of the IRB Challenge Cup will be played on the neighboring Cardinal Vaughan pitches, with the semi-finals and final on the famous Twickenham pitch.

Tickets are now available for the Marriott London Sevens weekend with weekend passes starting from £30, single day tickets from £18 and children’s tickets at £5 each day.  Visit or call 0844 847 2492.  (Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).

England Women's Sevens Squad: Rachael Burford, Abigial Chamberlain, Heather Fisher, Sonia Green, Natasha Hunt, Sarah McKenna, Katherine Merchant, Alice Richardson, Emily Scarratt, Michaela Staniford (C), Joanne Watmore, Kay Wilson

VIDEO: England women win in Hong Kong