Wales Sevens ready for series opener

An experienced Wales Sevens squad has arrived in Dubai ahead of the first leg of the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series which kicks-off on Friday.

Ospreys scrum half Tom Isaacs, a late try scorer in Wales’ 15-14 win over New Zealand as Paul John’s side progressed to the Rugby World Cup Sevens title in March 2009, returns to the squad for this tournament and the next one which takes place in George, South Africa.

Fellow Rugby World Cup Sevens winner Richie Pugh is also included, as are experienced Sevens players Rhys Shellard, Rhys Jones, Gareth Davies, Ifan Evans and Lee Rees.

There are two new caps in Dragons centre Rhodri Gomer-Davies and young Blues centre Owen Williams, a member of last season’s Wales Under 20 side, while Scarlets lock Aaron Shingler picked up his first Wales Sevens cap at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Gavin Dacey also makes a return to the squad, while Jevon Groves retains the captaincy of the side.

“We have an experienced squad but one that has had limited preparation time together ahead of these two legs of the Series, but we are glad to have arrived in Dubai where we can train together before the tournament kicks-off on Friday,” said head coach Paul John.

“We are just really looking forward to the competitive action now. The Commonwealth Games was a good experience for us but our aim now is to climb the IRB Sevens rankings over the course of the season.

“We have Arabian Gulf, Samoa and Kenya in our Dubai Pool which is not going to be easy – Samoa are current World Series champions and Kenya are always tough – but we will certainly put everything into qualifying for the quarter-finals.”

Wales Sevens squad for Dubai (Dec 3, 4), George, South Africa (Dec 10, 11)

Jevon Groves (captain, Dragons), Lee Rees (Scarlets), Rhys Jones (Newport), Gareth Davies (Cardiff), Tom Isaacs (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Blues), Rhodri Gomer-Davies (Dragons), Ifan Evans (Llandovery), Gavin Dacey (Pontypridd), Rhys Shellard (Cardiff), Richie Pugh (Scarlets), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets)