Final men's Sevens squads declared for Dubai

(IRB.COM) Thursday 28 November 2013
 Final men's Sevens squads declared for Dubai
Playmaker Branco du Preez returns for South Africa after missing round one on the Gold Coast

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.

Men's Fixtures & Pools (29-30 Nov) >> 

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.

Team profiles, form guides & other media docs >>

Dubai Sevens

Round 2
5-6 December 2014
Venue: 7he Sevens
City: Dubai
Capacity: 50,000

Pool A
Pool B
Pool C
Pool D
  • Axel Muller
  • Dubai Dream Team
  • Emosi Mulevoro of Fiji celebrates