England Sevens Make Winning Start

England Sevens made a winning start in their pool match against Portugal 31 - 7. Earlier in their preparations Newcastle Falcon's wing, Ollie Phillips, had given praise to the two new Navy caps in the squad. The photograph is courtesey of AllSport and the full press release from the RFU is as follows: England Sevens winger Ollie Phillips is a man on a mission in Dubai this weekend. The Newcastle Falcons flier returns to the city, if not the ground, where he made his England debut four years ago determined to make up for lost time. Dubai’s brand new stadium not only hosts the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens (November 28 & 29) but also the Sevens Rugby World Cup next March (5-7) and Phillips has both on his mind. And having missed out on the 2005 Sevens World Cup through injury, Phillips hopes that he can do enough to claim the shirt for the 2009 tournament. “I would love to play in the Sevens Rugby World Cup next year,” said Phillips. “I missed the last Sevens World Cup through injury so I would be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t on my mind. I definitely want to be involved. That’s a big ambition for me and I would like to see England win the IRB Series for the first time too.” Phillips made his sevens debut at the IRB World Sevens Series in Dubai 2004 - the same year that England won the tournament at the Al Awir ground - and he added: “I’m really excited to be returning to Dubai it’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait to see the new stadium, it’s a 40,000 seater called ‘The Sevens’ I think that’s going to be amazing. “I saw the launch of the new Atlantis Hotel on the TV the other night, they don’t do things by halves, it was unbelievable the amount of fireworks that went off, I reckon you could see it in space! “I have fond memories of Dubai, it was the first time I had ever played for England and we won the Dubai tournament. The support from the fans is definitely a highlight in Dubai. Most of the fans are ex-pats and they love England so it’s a really nice way to kick off the series. After Dubai we head to South Africa for the next leg and you notice the difference. “The team look really good and sharp. The two new caps Josh (Drauniniu, Exeter Chiefs/Royal Navy) and Greg (Barden, Bristol Rugby/Royal Navy) are looking great and my Newcastle Falcons team mate Micky (Young) is playing really well so it’s a great opportunity for him to get out there and show what he can do.” England face Portugal, USA and Fiji on day one of the Dubai tournament. England's 12-man Emirates Airline Dubai and South Africa Sevens: Greg Barden (Bristol Rugby/Royal Navy)* Kevin Barrett (Exeter Chiefs) Tom Biggs (Leeds Carnegie) Chris Cracknell (Exeter Chiefs) Isoa Damudamu (Army) Josua Drauniniu (Exeter Chiefs/Royal Navy)* Ben Gollings (Gold Coast, Australia) Uche Odouza (Suntory, Japan) Ollie Phillips (Newcastle Falcons) James Rodwell (Moseley RFC) Rob Vickerman (Leeds Carnegie) Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons) *Denotes uncapped for England Sevens