Final men's Sevens squads declared for Dubai
The coaches of all 16 countries set to compete in round two of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, have declared their final squads of 12.
Among the top four seeds, Gillies Kaka - player of the World Cup in Moscow - makes a welcome return for New Zealand, while Queensland Reds and Wallaby flyer Luke Morahan is included in a strong Australian 12. England hand a debut to former Under 20 captain Alex Gray, while Branco du Preez and Cheslin Kolbe return for South Africa.
In all there are 24 World Series debutants in Dubai, invited team Russia blooding six new players and Ben Ryan handing a golden ticket to four newcomers for Fiji.
Pool A: NZ, KEN, FRA, POR - Full details >>
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens recalls Gillies Kaka, Sherwin Stowers and Bryce Heem into a side bursting with experience and talent. Three times last season Paul Treu masterminded South African victories against New Zealand and he now gets a chance to immediately renew that rivalry with Tietjens as the new coach of Kenya. He is without proven stars in Ombachi, Kayange, Ashioya, Ouma and Odhiambo, but Collins Injera is there to spearhead the attack, while Leonard Mugaisi and Humphrey Mulama are debutants.
France hand a debut to Vincent Martin but are an experienced squad with 10 players having played 12 or more World Series tournaments. Terry Bouhraoua is still injured, but giant Jean-Baptiste Gobelet returns. Portugal hand out three debuts and also feature three of the players who lost 52-8 to Canada in Lisbon last weekend.
Pool B: AUS, WAL, SCO, ESP - Full details >>
Australia sit second in the standings - a best start ever - and showed their strength in depth by drafting in experienced James Stannard as a last-minute replacement for the injured Cameron Clark. Wallaby Luke Morahan adds danger to a backline also featuring a recall for Lewis Holland and the ever-dangerous Shannon Walker. One of five sides with no debutants.
Wales hand a debut to Ashley Evans but Alex Webber is injured and will be missed. Chris Knight gives pace and purpose to the backline and Adam Thomas retains the captaincy. For Scotland test wing Lee Jones returns, as does captain Colin Gregor, but there is no Michael Fedo. Jack Ferguson is handed a debut. Spain are strengthened from the Gold Coast with the return of Pablo Feijoo, Jaike Carter and Ignacio Martin.
Pool C: ENG, FIJ, CAN, USA - Full details >>
England coach Simon Amor makes some changes, former Under 20 national team captain Alex Gray handed a first start in place of Chris Cracknell, while Marcus Watson, Sam Edgerley and Jeff Williams also make returns to the side. Their former coach, Ben Ryan, hands four debuts to Fijian players Semi Kunatani, Leo Naikasau, Jona Tuitoga and Mosese Mawalu, while Osea Kolinisau retains the captaincy and Pio Tuwai returns.
With Nathan Hirayama still recovering from the knee injury he suffered on the Gold Coast, John Moonlight captains Canada and Adam Kleeberger, Mike Scholz and Phil Mack also return to the Sevens set-up. For the States coach Matt Hawkins recalls Andrew Durutalo and Folau Niua and hands two debuts to Ryne Haitsuka and Zach Mizell.
Pool D: RSA, SAM, ARG, RUS - Full details >>
The return of both Branco du Preez and Cheslin Kolbe is a major boost for South Africa coach, Neil Powell, who also has the benefit of Cecil Afrika and Justin Geduld in the side. He must do without Cornal Hendricks, though, who has committed to a 15s contract. For Samoa, coach Viliamu Punivalu recalls Lio Lolo and Tulolo Tulolo; Misioka Timoteo is a new danger man and Alatasi Tupou and Reupena Levasa add the experience. Debuts for Oneone Faafou and Ritchie Ah Chong.
Argentina coach Santiago Gomez Cora sticks with only six of the players who competed on the Gold Coast last month. In come experienced players in Puma Matias Moroni, Ramiro Moyano and Jeronimo de la Fuente, while Santiago Alvarez is handed a debut. For Russia there are six debutants and four others who have played two events or less. Vladimir Ostroushko has 17 events and 57 tries under his belt and will lead from the front with Ivan Kotov.
- The Big Interview: Paul Treu on Kenya »
- John makes three changes for Wales Sevens »
- England Sevens take part in Twitter Q&A »
- 60 seconds with ... Ambrose Curtis »
- 'My try' with England's Dan Norton »
- Injera: Kenya to 'tick the boxes' in Dubai »
- Punivalu: Samoa can defend Dubai title »
- Hawkins opts for US coach-only role in Dubai »
- Treu selects first Kenya Sevens squad »
- Test wing Jones makes Scotland Sevens return »
- Kaka back as All Blacks Sevens set for Dubai »
- Australia call up Stannard for injured Clark »
- Gray one of four changes for England Sevens »
- Du Preez and Kolbe return to boost Bok Sevens »
- Kleeberger returns for Canada Sevens in Dubai »
- Dubai Pool D profile: RSA, SAM, ARG, RUS »
- Dubai Pool C profile: ENG, FIJ, CAN, USA »
- Dubai Pool B profile: AUS, WAL, SCO, ESP »
- Dubai Pool A profile: NZL, KEN, FRA, POR »
- Gomez Cora names Argentina Sevens squad »
- The RFU »
- Welsh R.U. »
- Fédération Française de Rugby »
- Australian R.U. »
- New Zealand R.F.U. »
- Rugby Canada »
- United States of America Rugby Football Union »
- Union Argentina de Rugby »
- Samoa Rugby Union »
- Federación Española de Rugby »
- Fiji R.U. »
- Federação Portuguesa de Rugby »
- South Africa Rugby Union »
- R.U. Of Russia »