By Charity Knight.
TWICKENHAM COMES alive this weekend, as it plays host to the oldest sevens tournament in the world – the Vauxhall Middlesex Charity Sevens.
Last years victors, Samurai, return to compete in the 87th year of the tournament vying for the chance to hold the Russell Cargill trophy. Samurai are competing with mainly southern hemisphere players such as Ed Cocker and David Batiratu maintaining the tradition of choosing fast-paced islanders.
Determined to raise the trophy once again, the Army are this year putting out a strong side coached by former Fijian sevens international, Cpl Alfred Vakacoko Vaua. The Army, who have struggled to put a side together because of players being deployed abroad, have not won since 2004 and are hoping for success this year with the likes of Apo Satala, Joe Kava and Makai ‘Bunny’ Burenivalu, in the back row.
The club sides competing include London Welsh whose team is being coached by Lyn Jones and captained by 2009 Sevens World Cup winner Lee Beach. The team mostly consists of the club’s new signings and summer trialists.
“The Middlesex Sevens over the years has been a terrific tournament and London Welsh have always performed admirably,” said Jones
“We’ve picked as strong a squad as possible, with the inclusion of a few players we want to see play. So it’s a mixed bag, but we’re keen to perform and do the jersey proud.”
Brazil are also bringing a team over in preparation for the inclusion of rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Having just come third in the CONSUR Sevens, expectations are high for this team.
Other notable players include London Scottish’s Simon Amor, who’s an ex IRB sevens player of the year player, and Josh Beaumont – Bill Beaumont’s son – who is playing for Durham University and has just been signed by Newcastle Falcons.
Durham University’s first match is against Brazil. Beaumont said of the impending match: “The tournament will be a great stage in which to show off university rugby, proving that we play at a consistently high level. It will be interesting playing the international players in Brazil’s team, and a good test for us.”
White Hart Maurauders are showing up with a strong side, including players such as Josh Matavesi and Dan Scarborough, who both play for Racing Metro.
Adults pay £20 entry, while children go free.
Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10:25 am.