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England and Scotland name GoldCoast7s squads

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irb.com and James Mortimer     03 Oct 2013     Getty Images

While after just six days in the job the new England Sevens head coach Simon Amor has picked his first squad to play on the HSBC Sevens World Series at round one, the Gold Coast Sevens on 12-13 October.

The tournament in Australia is the first round of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.

While forward Scott Riddell will captain the Scottish side, former Jed-Forest Sevens specialist Gregor Young will make his first appearance on the world stage following a first outing with the team last weekend in the FIRA European grand prix in Bucharest.

"Gregor has shown a lot of promise in training and performed well in Bucharest. He has a wealth of Sevens knowledge, having played on the Border circuit, and is a powerful player who brings with him an option to play in the forwards or backs," said coach Gemmell.

The remainder of the side is made up of experienced hands in Michael Fedo, Struan Dewar, Alex Glashan, Michael Maltman, Mark Robertson, Andrew Turnbull, John Houston, James Johnstone, Chris Dean and James Fleming.

"I have selected an experienced squad who need to go out and deliver for Scotland. This is the start of the World Series in a hugely significant year for these players that will culminate at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow," added Gemmell, whose side lines up in pool play on the Gold Coast against Samoa, Argentina and hosts Australia.

"This group have shown, this year, that they can finish in the top six at tournaments, but a lack of consistency has also left us vulnerable at times resulting in our disappointing final series place (13th) last season. We have worked on the areas of weakness we identified in Bucharest and I’m now asking them to go out and deliver on their potential.

"We all know the environment of the HSBC Sevens World Series is one that does not allow for mistakes, because if you make basic errors you will be severely punished.

“This is the beginning of a new season, which we’re looking forward to and we're excited about getting started on the Gold Coast.”

Meanwhile newcomer Phil Burgess makes his debut for England, forward Chris Cracknell also makes a welcome return after a year on the sidelines.

In the first of nine global rounds on the grand prix-style Series, England face pool matches against South Africa, France and Spain, who beat them in the Bowl final at Skilled Park 12 months ago.

"We have experience in nine of the 12 who appeared in Moscow (at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June) but it’s important to recognise that this is a new team with new ideas," said Amor, who is yet to name his captain.

"We are focused on developing our game and changing the way we play, and we will make mistakes, but if we get it right we’ve every chance of being successful.

"It’s good to be able to give Phil Burgess his first appearance at this level and from what I’ve seen in the FIRA (European) tournaments he’s got the potential to be a good sevens international at hooker, particularly with the lines he runs and his work at the breakdown.

"It’s great to have Chris Cracknell back too. It will take time for him to get back to the fantastic form he was in a couple of years ago but we’ve already seen glimpses in Europe of the power he can bring to our game.”

Forward Burgess, 25, is in his first season with England Sevens after signing from Championship side Cornish Pirates and appeared in the two FIRA European Grand Prix victories in Lyon and Bucharest.

Cracknell, 29, successfully returned to action after a knee injury in June and plays his 30th World Series tournament.

The third change from the World Cup runners-up squad is a call-up for back Dan Bibby, who appeared in the World Series events in Wellington, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tokyo last season.

Marcus Watson also travels with the squad as cover.

Scotland Sevens for Gold Coast: Scott Riddell (captain), Michael Fedo, Struan Dewar, Alex Glashan, Michael Maltman, Mark Robertson, Andrew Turnbull, John Houston, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, James Fleming and Gregor Young.

Not available due to injury: Colin Gregor (calf), Colin Shaw (shoulder), Neil Herron (knee), Russell Weir (knee) and Lewis Young (shoulder).

England Sevens squad: Dan Bibby, John Brake, Phil Burgess, Chris Cracknell, Mike Ellery, Christian Lewis-Pratt, Tom Mitchell, Dan Norton, Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Mathew Turner, Rob Vickerman