Friday, March 21, 2014

Final Rosters Named for Tokyo 7s

 When Stars Rugby 7s was at the Las Vegas Invitational our Women's Elite side had the good fortune to camp between the USA Falcons men and Serevi Selects men's teams both made the Elite Men's final. Both squads were full of international rugby 7s talent numerous caps between the teams. Serevi boasted England stars Ben Gollings and Mat Turner, Fijians William Rasileka and Isimeli Daveta, former USA 7s players Kevin Swiryn, Mike Palefau, Miles Craigwell and Peter Tiberio, and Eagles 15s wing Tim Maupin. The USA Falcons roster was full of the contracted players from the Olympic Training Center that hadn't made the iRB squad that weekend. Now Madison Hughes, Mike Te'o, Garrett Bender and Marcus Satavu of the Falcons and Mike Palefau of Serevi have earned spots on the USA roster for Tokyo 7s and Hong Kong 7s.

Being able to socialize and network with players of this caliber, to observe their warm-ups, game play, and borrow some foam rollers to boot, was a great opportunity for our own developing talent. Greatness inspires greatness and as we head into the meat of our spring 15s season and straight into summer 7s, here's hoping our players will similarly elevate their games. Each weekend there are changes as to who is in and who is out, who is starting, who is left on the bench and it's all about the discipline to earn and keep that starting spot, to be an aspiring student of the game of rugby, the motivation #workforit that will differentiate those that make the cut and those left wondering what more they could have done.

There have been a few changes to all the national rosters for these Tokyo 7s and Hong Kong 7s legs of the series. The iRB released details:

Final squads declard for Tokyo Sevens

(IRB.COM) Friday 21 March 2014
 Setefano Cakau returns for Fiji and plays for the first time under coach Ben Ryan

The final squads have been declared by all 16 teams ahead of the Tokyo Sevens on 22-23 March, round six of the HSBC Sevens World Series. 

Argentina - No Nicolas Bruzzone so captained by Gaston Revol. Debut for Juan Cappiello and the danger man is Diego Palma 

Australia - Shannon Walker succumbs to the injury curse again as Afa Pakalani makes his debut. Cameron Clark is fast becoming Australia's key man, while Allan Fa'alava'au should be even better now for a little more Sevens conditioning. Ed Jenkins takes back the captaincy from Con Foley. 

Canada - Chauncey O'Toole returns to Series action and Jake Webster is on debut. Sean Duke should now be back to full fitness and is just eight tries short of 100. 

England - Simon Amor hands four debuts to Sam Blanchet, Jack Walsh, Sam Stanley and last year's Junior World Championship-winning captain, Jack Clifford. James Rodwell plays his 49th Series event. 

Fiji - Setefano Cakau and Pio Tuwai are both fit again for Fiji and Osea Kolinisau retains the captaincy. Vatemo Ravouvou the sole debutant for Ben Ryan. 

France - Welcome returns for Terry Bouhraoua and Jean Baptiste Gobelet. Julien Candelon offers pace and trickery out wide and Virimi Vakatawa takes his first steps on the World Series. 

Japan - Five debutants for the Brave Blossoms, among them Kenki Fukuoka, who - according to national team head coach Eddie Jones - is as fast as Bryan Habana. Yoshikazu Fujita is a classy operator out wide and Lomano Lemeki makes his Series debut, having lit up the Asian Series. 

Kenya - Powerhouse captain Andrew Amonde returns for coach Paul Treu and with Collins Injera, Oscar Ouma, Biko Adema and Dennis Ombachi it's a strong-looking squad. Maxwell Theuri is the sole debutant. 

New Zealand - Full-back Marty McKenzie steps into the Sevens team for the first time, having impressed Gordon Tietjens in training, while Sam Dickson returns after suspension. No Tomasi Cama (injured) or Lote Raikabula. 

Portugal - Pedro Leal returns to captain the side and will be looking for a happier time in Sevens, having been involved last weekend in the 28-24 home loss to Spain in the European Nations Cup. Bernardo Cardoso and Manuel Raposo earn debuts. 

Samoa - Kelly Meafua is a late replacement for injured captain, Reupena Levasa, as coach Viliamu Punivalu hands debuts to five new players a week out from Hong Kong. A big chance for Gregory Foe, Xavier Martel, Etioefa Fiavaai, Viiga Reupena and Sonny Fereti. 

Scotland - Neil Herron is the sole new cap for Scotland who are captained by Colin Gregor and recall Fijian-born Joe Nayacavou 

South Africa - Neil Powell is the only coach to name no Series debutants as they set out on their title defence in Tokyo. Seabelo Senatla returns but there is no Cecil Afrika, out injured and replaced by Steven Hunt. 

Spain - Mathieu Ghislain Rock, Gautier Gibouin and Brice Labadie make their debuts as the Spanish try deperately to make up ground in the Series table. Currently they occupy the relegation place, 15th of the current core teams. 

USA - No Carlin Isles or Folau Niua, both now with the Glasgow Warriors, but Mike Palefau returns and Marcus Satavu makes debut. Zack Test the star man. 

Wales - Alex Webber's inclusion is a boost for coach Gareth Williams, who hands debuts to Ross Thomas and Tom Williams. 

Note- the iRB page also has a video profile of Fiji's Setefano Cakau!

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