Wales Sevens head to Moscow this weekend on the second leg of a series of summer FIRA Sevens tournaments.
They have made five changes from last weekend’s Lyon tournament and coach Gareth Williams, who has been handed the head coach role for these tournaments – with Paul John switching to team manager – says a lot has already been gained from the exercise. Wales took a new-look, developmental side to Lyon last weekend, winning four of their seven games with wins over Russia, Moldova, Italy and the Netherlands and with losses to England, France and Russia, eventually finishing in sixth place. He insists the players are on a steep learning curve.
“Last weekend’s tournament was a pleasing exercise, we blooded a lot of players who have been training with us for a couple of months now and other than a few key moments in crucial matches, we could have reached the semi-finals. It was very useful for us as a coaching team, especially coming up against sides like Russia, France and England who all featured players from their IRB squad. Those games showed our young players the levels they need to attain on a consistent basis in order to move forward at that level.”
Nic Cudd, Jake Randell and Rhodri Williams (all Scarlets), Richard Smith (Cardiff) and Steffan Andrews (Tonmawr) have been brought into the squad for this weekend’s Russian tournament, replacing Will Jones (injured), Rory Watts Jones, Steve Taylor, Sam Lewis and Elliot Frewen. Williams added: “Along with replacing Will Jones who suffered a broken collar bone in our first game, we have brought in some new faces to freshen things up and with a view to improving on last weekend’s results. We are also looking to give players who have trained with us an opportunity to show what they can do against established international sevens players.” Following Moscow, the squad are next in action the weekend of July 8 when the squad participates in the Barcelona FIRA tournament, while a squad will also compete at the Middlesex Sevens the same weekend. Wales Sevens squad for Moscow:
Owen Williams (Pontypridd), Calum Thomas (Pontypridd), Nic Cudd (Scarlets), Richard Smith (Cardiff), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets) Justin James (Llanelli), Lee Williams (Scarlets), Warren Davies (Tonmawr), Will Price (Aberavon), Steffan Andrews (Tonmawr), Jake Randell (Scarlets), Luke Williams (unattached)