Warwick Lahmert has been named as captain of the England sevens side set to compete in the penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris.

There is a return for Alex Davis in the squad, while Alex Gray and Ethan Waddleton return after being unavailable for the previous two rounds in Singapore and Hong Kong.

With the Olympic Games drawing closer England are without senior players Tom Mitchell, Phil Burgess and Dan Norton to ensure that they are fit and fresh for when the Team GB programme starts at the end of May. 

This provides the opportunity for Cameron Cowell, Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas and Waddleton to continue their development on the world stage.

England are currently eighth in the World Sevens Series standings, while South Africa sit in second place and Australia in fourth. Brazil are the tournament’s invited team ahead of them hosting the Olympic Games in Rio later this summer.

ENGLAND TEAM: Tom Bowen, Cameron Cowell, Alex Davis, Richard de Carpentier, Harry Glover, Alex Gray, Charlie Hayter, Oscar Hirskyj-Douglas, Warwick Lahmert (C), Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Ruaridh McConnochie, Ethan Waddleton

SPECMAN AND HOUGAARD RETURN FOR BLITZBOKS

South Africa coach Neil Powell has drafted in Francois Hougaard and Rosco Specman for the final two rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as the Blitzboks make four changes from Singapore.

Hougaard returns after a stint with Worcester Warriors in England, while Specman features in the setup for the first time since Vancouver having missed Hong Kong and Singapore. The duo will be joined by Philip Snyman and Dylan Sage and will replace Siviwe Soyizwapi, Branco du Preez, Chris Dry and Stephan Dippenaar.

Powell explained that he is looking to rotate a number of players after Paris, with some changes expected again for the HSBC London Sevens in two weeks’ time.

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“It is important for us to do well and try and win the series, but we also need to look at the welfare of regulars with Rio in mind, so I am planning to replace a number of these guys travelling to Paris for the London tournament,” Powell said.

“We have built good depth in the squad and with a number of players really pushing hard for a starting spot, I feel comfortable that we can rotate some players in the next two weeks and still remain very competitive. We came close on many occasions during the series and we need to keep on believing. 

“It is going to be tough to overhaul Fiji at the top of the standings, but we are still in it with two tournaments to go. That was one of our objectives at the start of the 2015/16 series.”

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD: Ryan Kankowski, Philip Snyman, Tim Agaba, Kwagga Smith, Francois Hougaard, Kyle Brown, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Justin Geduld, Cecil Afrika, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel 

AUSTRALIA BRING BACK PARAHI

Australia head coach Andy Friend has named returning Aussie star Jesse Parahi as one of five changes in his squad to compete at the final two legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris and London. 

Parahi returns for the first time this series after switching to NRL outfit West Tigers late last year. He was an integral part of Australia's Olympic qualifying campaign during the 2014/15 edition of the series and will be joined by a number of other big names in Paris. Nick "Honey Badger" Cummins also features in the squad for Paris as he aims to secure an Olympic berth, while young speedster Henry Hutchison makes a comeback after suffering a foot injury, which has kept him out of the side since the HSBC Sydney Sevens in February. 

Lewis Holland (syndesmosis), Greg Jeloudev (foot), Tom Cusack (wrist), Henry Speight (cheekbone) Tom Lucas (knee) and Nick Malouf (knee) are all unavailable for the rest of the series.

"When I look at the squad that I've chosen for this Paris I'm excited. We have two genuine outside backs in Henry and Nick who love to use their pace but are also strong defensively while it is always good to welcome back players of the calibre of Ed Jenkins and Cameron Clark," he said.

"With team selection for the Rio Olympics drawing ever closer, competition for those 12 spots is heating up and I expect to see a real edge to our game in these last two tournaments. I want us to be clinical and I want us to be ruthless. We have a big challenge ahead of us with a tough pool but I'm confident we have the personnel to perform really well."

One notable exclusion from the squad is Quade Cooper, who will also not be considered for the Rio 2016 Olympics after an official announcement from the Australian sevens programme earlier in the week. 

“There’s no doubt Quade is a quality player, but put simply, we just haven’t had the opportunity to work with him as much as we would have liked over the past five months," said head coach Andy Friend.

"Each day I have a group of 20-plus players working on different structures and patterns of play and I don’t think we would have got the very best out of Quade had we just thrown him into a tournament with limited preparation – particularly for an event as momentous as the Olympics.

Australia currently sit fourth in the series standings, 20 points adrift of third-placed New Zealand and ahead of fifth-placed USA by the same margin and face pool matches against Brazil, England and South Africa in Paris.

AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Henry Hutchison, Tom Kingston, Sam Myers, Josh Holmes, James Stannard, Con Foley, Cameron Clark, Jesse Parahi, Ed Jenkins, Allan Fa'alava'au, Nick Cummins, Pat McCutcheon