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England Women looking to top the world in Hong Kong

By RFU Press Office by Julia Hutton
March 22 2012

England Women are set to embark on their second ever assault on the IRB’s Women Sevens Challenge Cup in Hong Kong this weekend and they are looking to top the world this time out.

England Women looking to top the world in Hong Kong
England Sevens Captain Michaela Staniford
England Sevens Captain Michaela Staniford

12 of the world’s best Women’s Sevens teams participated in the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup in Dubai in December and for England they had to settle for second best after losing to Canada in the final.

This time around England and Canada are the hot favourites again, with Sevens world champions Australia also in the mix, but England will be looking to go one better this time.

Six Nations Grand Slam champion Michaela Staniford leads an experienced Sevens squad for this tournament, that sees the likes of Alice Richardson, Heather Fisher and Rachael Burford – all 2009 RWC Sevens survivors – recalled into the squad.

Skipper Staniford said: We are coming to Hong Kong with a squad that has experience but also some young but seriously talented players. We are really excited about this challenge and to be involved in another historic tournament for Women’s Sevens rugby.”

England have been drawn in Pool B of the 12-team women’s tournament and will face Japan and China in the initial stages on Friday, March 23. If they top their pool, they will then contest the knock out stages of the Challenge Cup on Saturday at the infamous Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday alongside the men’s HSBC World Sevens Series.

“There are some very strong teams in this tournament and we will have to work hard and be on the top of our game to achieve our goal, which is to better our result in Dubai,” added Staniford. “But at the same time, this tournament is a stepping stone in the squad’s development as we look forward to the London Marriot Sevens in May, and also the 2013 World Cup qualifiers in Moscow.

“We played China in Dubai and they ran us close in the first game. They are a very organised team and they are not afraid to use their pace. Japan, meanwhile, look like a very organised side with some very quick and agile players. It is going to be an exciting first day of women’s sevens rugby.”

England Sevens Squad for Hong Kong

Rachael         Burford (Richmond)

Abigail            Chamberlain(Richmond)

Heather          Fisher (Worcester)

SoniaGreen (VC)    (Saracens)


Isabelle          Noel-Smith    (Bristol)

Alice   Richardson   (Richmond)

Leanne          Riley   (Saracens)

Michaela        Staniford (C)(Wasps)

Lydia  Thompson     (Worcester)

Joanne          Watmore        (Worcester)

Kay Wilson (Bristol)

Hong Kong IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup Schedule

Friday, 23rd March 2012, Hong Kong Football Club, Happy Valley

910am local time: England v China

1150am local time: England v Japan

14:00  Bowl SF         3rd Pool A v 3rd Pool B      

14:40  Plate SF         2nd Pool A v 2nd Pool B   

15:00  Plate SF         2nd Pool C v 2nd Pool D   

16.40 Bowl FINAL

Hong Kong Football Club – HK Stadium  

18:12 PLATE Final, Hong Kong Football Club – HK Stadium  

Saturday, 24th March 2012, Hong Kong Football Club – HK Stadium  

11:42  Cup SF          1st Pool A                  v          1st Pool B     

16:50  CUP Final


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England Women looking to top the world in Hong Kong
Unofficial England Rugby Union (IP Logged)
22/03/2012 18:05
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2012:03:24:18:23:39 by Kath..

England beat China 31-7 and Japan 38-0 to book a semi-final date with Canada
Kath... (IP Logged)
23/03/2012 19:57
England's Fisher returns to action in Hong Kong after recovering from serious back injury

Friday March 23, 2012
Issued by Simon Mills

Heather Fisher completed her remarkable recovery from a serious back injury by helping England cruise through the opening stage of the IRB Women’s Challenge Cup in Hong Kong today (Friday).

England beat China 31-7 and Japan 38-0 to book a semi-final date with Canada in front of a 40,000 sell-out crowd at Hong Kong Stadium tomorrow (Saturday).

Fisher, 27, supplied one of England’s five tries against China and added a physical edge to an England side beaten by the Canadians in last December’s Dubai final.

It was her first appearance on the pitch since recovering from fracturing two vertebrae in Newquay last summer. Fisher played through that tournament and then went with England to a European tournament in Romania before the damage was discovered.

“I was in a cast waist to neck for three months, rested from all training, I’ve been back running for four weeks and this was my first game today,” said Fisher, who has won 19 caps in the back row for England's 15-a-side team.

“Of course it’s at the back of your mind ‘What if I don’t make it back? What if that was the last time I’ll pull an England shirt on?’.

“But my mission was to get back for the Hong Kong Sevens and it was really hard work. I’m not going to be at my best but I’m only going to get better by playing, getting back on the pitch and getting my confidence back.

“I’ve been working four or five hours a day doing rehab so I was ready for Hong Kong, so I wasn’t just ready to run but to be ready to take the hits, change direction, go that extra yard. When you run out and play for your country it’s all worth it.”

Fisher, Rachael Burford, Alice Richardson, Sonia Green and Izzy Noel-Smith supplied the tries against China with Richardson adding three conversions.

Wing Kay Wilson touched down twice against Japan with Michaela Staniford, Abi Chamberlain, Leanne Riley and Richardson also scoring, Richardson converted four of the tries.

“Heather’s done really well and it’s good to have her back,”
said Staniford, England's Captain.

“She’s worked really hard and the first two games, knowing that she’s good in contact, knowing that she can carry the ball, and doing those basics so well, will be massive for her confidence.

"She’s a big power player – a game-winner – and when people see her being so physical it puts fear into them.”

England Results:

England 31 7 China

Tries: Fisher, Burford, Richardson, Green, Noel-Smith

Conversions: Richardson (3)

England 38-0 Japan
Tries: Wilson (2), Staniford, Chamberlain, Riley, Richardson

Conversions: Richardson (4)

Saturday, 24th March 2012, Hong Kong Football Club – HK Stadium

11:42 Cup SF 1st Pool A v 1st Pool B

16:50 CUP Final

England Sevens Squad for Hong Kong

Rachael Burford (Richmond)

Abigail Chamberlain(Richmond)

Heather Fisher (Worcester)

SoniaGreen (VC) (Saracens)


Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol)

Alice Richardson (Richmond)

Leanne Riley (Saracens)

Michaela Staniford (C)(Wasps)

Lydia Thompson (Worcester)

Joanne Watmore (Worcester)

Kay Wilson (Bristol)

Re: England Women looking to top the world in Hong Kong
24/03/2012 14:29
Well done to England Women on beating Austrilia in the final of IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup in Hong Kong.

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