Police find item of interest in the search for missing teen Luke Cochrane ... Read more

England happy to be Wellington Sevens villains

Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014
Simon Amor
Getty Images
TALKING THINGS UP: England coach Simon Amor.

Relevant offers


Kiwi quartet strong contenders to take over as New Zealand sevens coach Kenya keen to tap into Sir Gordon Tietjens' sevens knowledge 'Revitalised' experience at Wellington Sevens to include party zones in stands New Zealand men's and women's teams qualified for Rugby World Cup Sevens New Zealand women's sevens coach Sean Horan steps down, contemplates men's job Fiji sevens star Masivesi Dakuwaqa fears his historic Olympic gold medal has been stolen. Willie Rickards latest to signal he's not interested in NZ sevens job Former All Black Scott Waldrom chasing his dream sevens job NZ sevens legend Eric Rush not keen on idea of Englishman Ben Ryan replacing Gordon Tietjens Junior Tomasi Cama won't contest New Zealand Sevens coaching role

England coach Simon Amor is encouraging his players to embrace their villain status as they prepare to defend their Wellington Sevens title.

As a former England sevens captain, Amor, who replaced Ben Ryan as coach in September last year, knows all too well that Kiwi fans love to give the Poms a hard time.

That was never more evident than in last year's final, when England were an unpopular 24-19 winner over fairytale story Kenya at Westpac Stadium.

Of course most of the boos are good natured, but perhaps only Australia rival the English for a lack of crowd support.

"Every team wants to play in a tournament with atmosphere," said Amor, a 34-year-old who was the inaugural IRB Sevens player of the year in 2004.

"Whether that's people cheering you on or people supporting the opposition team and trying to put the heat on you, people just want to play in those atmospheres.

"That's what's fantastic about Wellington, the crowd go against the guys, but the atmosphere is great. And especially for the young guys, it's a great experience for them and they've got to step up to the pressure."

Wellington was England's only tournament win last season, and they finished sixth overall in the 2012-13 series.

Under Amor they have improved to fourth this season after four rounds, behind leaders South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji.

England meet South Africa, as well as Wales and Portugal in pool play tomorrow, and Amor said the physicality of the Neil Powell-coached 'Blitzbokke' was setting the standard for modern sevens.

"The physicality that the South Africans bring, they're not top of the series for no reason. They pride themselves on defence, they're very, very good in that area and they keep the ball very well so they're a very difficult team to beat at the moment. They are the form team so it'll be a big test for us."

The return of playmaker Tomasi Cama was huge for the hosts, in Amor's opinion, while the Westpac Stadium surface played into Fiji's hands.

"We were on it yesterday and the turf is amazing. It's a very fast track and I'm pretty sure it's the biggest pitch in the series so it really does suit the guys with a real fast, attacking kind of game."

England's best players are speedsters Dan Norton and Marcus Watson while new captain Tom Mitchell is comfortably the leading points scorer in the series with 156 after four rounds.

The English are well funded with a big support team but Amor said it remained unclear whether the top 15s players would represent Great Britain in sevens at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Ad Feedback

"There's a lot of conversations going on about what that GB team will potentially look like. But this is about making some steady changes to the current group and giving new guys some opportunities, bringing new blood in and giving them a chance to shine."

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

What effect will a potential ban on booze at Rugby Sevens 2015 have on you?

I'd no longer go ... what's the point?

I'd buy a ticket, with rugby the priority again.

Ban or no ban, I'm still going.

I'd rather watch 'Wheel of Fortune' on a 24/7 loop than 7s.

Vote Result

Related story: Booze ban hovers over sevens

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content