England Sevens coach Ben Ryan believes a new era is dawning for world rugby and is excited by the possibilities for his squad this season - and has named Worcester back row dynamo Jake Abbott as part of his training squad for the 2009/10 season.
With the decision on whether to include rugby sevens in the 2016 Olympic Games due next Friday (October 9) Ryan is determined to continue the momentum his squad built last season by retaining ten of the players who reached finals in Dubai, Wellington, San Diego and London.
Former Worcester player Ben Gollings (Unattached), Kevin Barrett (Saracens) and the Army's Isoa Damudamu are amongst the experienced ten and will be joined by England Under 20s winger Christian Wade who will be hoping to earn his first sevens cap this year.
Ryan said: "The IRB Sevens World Series gets more competitive and exciting every year. The Olympic decision is days away and this additional possibility has already added to the promise of a new era in world rugby and sevens.
"If you stand still at the moment, you tend to get left behind by the other nations so we have worked very hard at continuing the momentum gained from reaching four finals out of the eight last year. Many of the squad have been retained - ten that have appeared in finals last year - and additional players include some from the unbeaten U18 side and JWC U20 finalists.
"The fitness standards have also risen, with minimum standards now being enforced across the board and some fantastic partnerships being developed with the RFU and other world class facilities and bodies in the UK. We all know what a hugely competitive but rewarding season this could be and can't wait for it all to start in earnest."
England Sevens training squad 2009/10
Jake Abbott (Worcester)
David Akinluyi (Unattached)
Greg Barden (Royal Navy)
Kevin Barrett (Saracens)
Chris Brightwell (Birmingham & Solihull)
Dan Caprice (Blackheath)
Isoa Damudamu (Army)
Ben Gollings (Unattached)
Jamie Hearn (Saracens)
Oliver Lindsay-Hague (Harlequins)
Dan Norton (Bristol Rugby)
Uche Oduoza (Newcastle Falcons)
Ollie Phillips (Stade Francais)
Tom Powell (Cambridge RFU)
James Rodwell (Moseley RFC)
Nick Royle (Fylde Rugby)
Charlie Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
Christian Wade (Wasps)
Matt Turner (Bristol Rugby)
Matt Williams (Unattached)
More players will be added post October training camp.
IRB Sevens World Series fixtures 2009/10
Dubai 4-5 December
South Africa 11-12 December
New Zealand 5-6 February
USA 13-14 February
Australia 20-21 March
Hong Kong 26-28 March
England 22-23 May
Scotland 29-30 May
Premiership Rugby today announced an extension of their partnership with the UK's largest insurance company, Aviva, for a further three years. The contract extension, which starts in the 2014-15 season, will cover a golden era for club rugby in England and will include a period when the country will host a Rugby World Cup and when rugby union will finally rejoin the Olympic movement.
Not only are the great and the good of the Aviva Premiership Rugby strutting their stuff at Twickenham this Saturday - so are the new generation of rugby players, including Worcester RFC, courtesy of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
Warrior Stuart Brooks will represent the club at Twickenham next weekend as he battles for the honour of carrying the coveted Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy onto the pitch ahead of the final between Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints.