Friday, March 28, 2014

Full Roster Notes for at Hong Kong 7s

If you're up at 5am like I am (or some earlier time on the West Coast of the US) - here's a quick refresher on the squads/pools/rosters for Hong Kong 7s courtesy of the iRB:

Hong Kong Sevens: Final squad news

(IRB.COM) Thursday 27 March 2014
 Hong Kong Sevens: Final squad news
Two tries in Hong Kong will make Kenya's Collins Injera the third-highest try-scorer in IRB Sevens rugby
The final squads have been declared by all 28 teams - 16 in the main Cup draw and 12 in the World Series qualifier - set to compete at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on 28-30 March. 

Here we round up the squad ins and outs among the core teams since last weekend in Tokyo, and provide full details of all 28 squads. 

Defending tournament champions Fiji make two changes from the side that won in Tokyo last weekend, with Joeli Lutumailagi and Samu Saqiwa replacing Jasa Veremalua and Leo Naikasau.  

Kenya name an unchanged squad from Tokyo, leaving vice captain Collins Injera on the verge of overtaking South Africa Sevens great Fabian Juries to become the third-highest try scorer in the history of the Series. Currently Juries is on 179, one ahead of Injera. Ben Gollings (220) and Santiago Gomez Cora (230) are next in Injera's sights. 

Influential playmaker Lee Williams returns for Wales alongside Will Thomas, who has also recovered from injury. The pair replace the injured Rhys Jones and Owen Jenkins, who misses out on selection.
"It's great to have Lee back in the side – he hasn't played since picking up an injury over Christmas and he will take over the captaincy from James Davies,” said Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams. 

Asia's third-ranked side Sri Lanka name eight debutants at this level. 

Former IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika has returned to the South Africa squad. Afrika, who has now recovered fully from a hamstring niggle, replaces Steven Hunt and his addition will further strengthen the Blitzboks in the crucial positions of flyhalf and sweeper. South Africa lead the Series heading into round seven, having made five consecutive finals. 

“It’s great to have Cecil back because he was in very good form before his injury. It is unfortunate that Steven Hunt has to make way, but Cecil is a very important player for us. He will assist Branco (du Preez) and Justin (Geduld) in the key positions of playmaker and sweeper, which are important attacking positions,” said coach, Neil Powell. 

Australia coach Michael O'Connor has called up Paul Asquith to replace Allan Fa'alava'au for the tournament in So Kon Po. Fa'alava'au has flown back to Australia to undergo surgery on the shoulder he first hurt in Wellington, round five of the Series, and has been ruled out for the remainder of this season. 
"I'm really looking forward to Hong Kong," said head coach O'Connor. "I love this tournament, but sadly it will be my last opportunity as head coach of the Australian team to lift a trophy that has eluded us for almost a quarter of a century." 

France bring in Brian Dimeck and Leo Ghirard in place of Julien Jane and Steeve Barry, while Spain are unchanged from Tokyo. 

England name an unchanged squad from Tokyo, which means that forward James Rodwell earns his 50th Sevens cap, having made the squad for 50 consecutive events. 

After finishing in the top eight at last weekend’s the Tokyo Sevens, Canada have strengthened for Hong Kong by replacing Tokyo debutant Jake Webster with experienced half back Phil Mack. As part of their preparations, Canada also coached over 100 children in Hong Kong - photos at

Argentina are without Lucas Alcacer but do not name a replacement, so go into the tournament with 11 players, while Portugal bring in proven try-scorer Duarte Moreira in the place of Manuel Vilela. 

New Zealand are unchanged for Hong Kong, meaning that Gillies Kaka has recovered from the knock that hampered him in Tokyo. 

USA are also unchanged from the side that reached a first Cup quarter-final of the season in Japan. 

Scotland make three changes from Tokyo and are bolstered by the inclusion of three Glasgow Warriors players. Forward James Eddie, Mark Bennett and Lee Jones are involved, replacing Joseva Nayacavou, Neil Herron and Alex Glashan. 

“We’re delighted to bring in Lee and Mark who have been involved on the circuit this season already and James, who was one of our first Scotland Sevens professionals before moving back to the XV-a-side game. In Tokyo we were disappointed, so I have selected a squad that I think can put in the performances we require this weekend.  Selection was hard as everyone has trained well, but having an extended squad has been very helpful." 

Samoa are unchanged, Levi Asifa'amatala their most experienced player with 23 events in an otherwise relatively novice squad. 

IRB Sevens: 'Club 50'
Uale Mai, Sam - 79 tournaments
Ben Gollings, Eng - 70
DJ Forbes, NZ - 64*
Lote Raikabula, NZ - 63*
Santiago Gomez Cora, Arg - 61
Tomasi Cama, NZ - 59*
Frankie Horne, SA - 57*
Andrew Turnbull, Sco - 55*
Horace Otieno, Ken - 54*
Humphrey Kayange, Ken - 53*
Simaika Mikaele, Sam - 53
Lavin Asego, Ken - 50*
Amasio Raoma, NZ - 50
James Rodwell, Eng - 50*
* still active on Series

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