Ahead of the kick-off of the HSBC Sevens World Series at the Gold Coast Sevens, the team captains of the 12 core teams united in looking forward to the new season.
DJ Forbes, New Zealand captain said: “To start the Series in the Gold Coast, it is a bit of a paradise here, so we are all really excited about it and playing in a great stadium, the home of the (Gold Coast) Titans (NRL team). Pressure is always on New Zealand, and there might be more with being defending champions, but we never go into a Series defending a title, we just go out like all the others to win it. Being a part of the Series is exciting knowing it is just going to get bigger, but we need to make sure we are putting on a good show to make sure it still holds its place in Rugby.”
Ed Jenkins, Australia captain said: “It is a great honour to be captain for the first leg, which is at home. I know we have the depth in our programme, but starting off with eight new players is quite difficult. The home crowd will help us out a lot, it is almost like playing with an extra man if the crowd can get up and make a lot of noise for us and I think it will be really beneficial.”
Greg Barden, England captain said: “It (captaining your country) is one of your dreams when you first put on your boots so it is a huge privilege, but it is a squad effort. It takes seven players, and more importantly 12 as a squad to make an impact on the Series. Looking around, it’s 30 degrees already, beautiful sunshine and no better place to start the Series. We have a lot of faces from old, everyone has had a tournament so there is a lot of experience in the squad.”
All 16 national teams have declared their final squads to compete at the Gold Coast Sevens, round one of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika has recovered from injury to make the team for South Africa and joins the returning Robert Ebersohn, who plays for the Springbok Sevens team for the first time since winning the World Series title in 2008/09.
Other notable inclusions returning to the Sevens game are Uale Mai and Lolo Lui for Samoa; Isoa Damu, Rob Vickerman and Greg Barden for England; Osea Kolinisau and Setafano Cakau for Fiji and Nicolas Bruzzone for Argentina.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s Senivalati Vunibola makes history in becoming the oldest man to make his debut on the World Series. The 39-year-old is a towering second row forward who captains Naitisiri and has also plied his trade in France and Spain.
In all there are 49 players making their World Series debuts, with England and South Africa the only teams to name all 12 players with prior experience.Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.