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English Women target semi-final at Netherlands Sevens

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wsws.irb.com     13 May 2014     Getty Images

The changes to the side that won the Plate in China last month are enforced with Rachael Burford and Megan Ellery both ruled out through injury.

England are currently tied with Russia in the race for fourth place in the Series standings and Middleton is eager for his charges to finish the season on a high with a Cup semi-final appearance the minimum target.

“Without a doubt we want to keep moving forward results wise. We played well in Atlanta and Brazil and were solid in China, winning four out of our six games which was our best result to date this season,” he said.

“We were left disappointed too, losing to Fiji and having a slow start against Ireland in Guangzhou, and we want to build on that by winning our group and also making the semi-finals and even the final if we can.”

England will face Canada, Brazil and hosts the Netherlands in Pool C.

“Canada are one of our toughest opposition,” added Middleton. “They are a very difficult side to play against and I don’t think they fear us as they play a very similar game to us.

“We will need to execute our game plan, which is something we haven’t always done, if we are to win this group, and it will take a great effort to do that. That would then give us a great springboard into the knock out games where we would love to make the final four.”

England Women’s Sevens squad: Claire Allan, Natasha Brennan, Abigail Chamberlain (captain), Heather Fisher, Francesca Matthews, Sarah McKenna, Marlie Packer, Emily Scott, Michaela Staniford, Lydia Thompson, Danielle Waterman, Amy Wilson-Hardy.