England sevens coach Ben Ryan has hedged his bets by including two players in the Penguins side to feature in the GFI HKFC Tens next week.
Chris Brightwell and James Lightfoot-Brown will turn out for the Penguins and will provide injury cover for Ryan as England bid to push up the HSBC Sevens World Series standings on their Asian jaunt of successive legs in Hong Kong and Tokyo this month.
England had failed to make it to the Cup quarter-finals in their first three tournaments this season but Brightwell, a 28-year-old New Zealand-born forward, played a role in their revival, which began with winning the Wellington Sevens last month. Scrumhalf Lightfoot-Brown, 19, is in his first season in the England squad and made his series debut in Dubai last November.
The England players are part of the Penguins' new-look 16-man squad who are bidding for their first Cup win, having lost in the 2007 and 2008 finals and exited at the semi-final stage for the past three years.
"Ben Ryan has agreed to provide us with the two England players for the Tens and this should make a big difference as we're really keen to finally lift the trophy," said Penguins manager Craig Brown.
The Penguins will also have a couple of Hong Kong connections: Andrew Kelly, the former Scotland A hooker who played nine seasons for Edinburgh and who led Valley to the Grand Championship crown last weekend, and former sevens player Johnny Gbenda-Charles.
Among the other overseas recruits are Tongan winger Will Helu, who played at the last World Cup . "We're going for the Cup again, as we do every year, and this time we have a great mix of players," Brown said.