Lindsay-Hague's return boosts England's Sevens hopes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 March, 2011, 12:00am

England will welcome back lethal weapon Ollie Lindsay-Hague for the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens, a must-win tournament if their ambition to win the IRB Sevens World Series for the first time is to be realised.

Harlequins flyer Lindsay-Hague has been out of action with an injury since he helped England win the opening leg in Dubai in December. But he is fit again and was named in a 13-man squad for the fifth and sixth legs in Hong Kong - from March 25-27 - and Adelaide respectively.

'It's great to have Ollie back now he's fit again and he comes back having started the last two Aviva Premiership games [for Harlequins],' England head coach Ben Ryan said. 'He's a confident young lad who's playing well at the moment which is good for him, for Quins and for us.'

A huge threat with his incisive running, utility back Lindsay-Hague lifted England to their only title this season in Dubai when he scored a brace of tries in the semi-final against New Zealand as well as in the final against Samoa.

In his absence England were runners-up in both George, South Africa, and Wellington, New Zealand, before losing to eventual winners South Africa in the semi-finals in the last leg in Las Vegas.

Lindsay-Hague will replace Simon Hunt, who is in championship play-off action for Birmingham and Solihull, and is joined in the 13-man squad by Sevens debutant Marcus Watson of London Irish.

'Marcus is a quality outside back who's already appeared in the premiership as well as at the junior world championship. He's been training with us throughout this season and he'll travel out as part of the squad before we make our decision on the 12 before each of the two tournaments,' Ryan said.

England will miss the presence of giant forward Isoa Damudamu, who was injured in Las Vegas. His place has been filled by former England under-20 wing, Mark Odejobi.

England, who share top place in the standings with New Zealand, each on 80 points, will be hoping to take a decisive lead in Hong Kong which offers more points to the cup winners.

Four-time cup champions England have not won here since 2006 and Ryan will be hoping the Ben Gollings-led team will give him his first win as a coach in five years.

England are drawn with the United States, Japan and China in the preliminary round.

ENGLAND SQUAD FOR HONG KONG SEVENS: Greg Barden (Royal Navy), John Brake (England Sevens), Dan Caprice (England Sevens), Chris Cracknell (England Sevens), Ben Gollings (England Sevens, captain), Ollie Lindsay-Hague (Harlequins), Dan Norton (Bristol Rugby), Mark Odejobi (Esher & Brunel University), Tom Powell (England Sevens), James Rodwell (England Sevens), Nick Royle (England Sevens), Mathew Turner (England Sevens), Marcus Watson (London Irish)