Q&A: RWC Sevens winner Richie Pugh
Ahead of this weekend's Tokyo Sevens Wales captain Richie Pugh joined irbsevens.com to answer questions posted to him via our two social media platforms.
On Wednesday, Rugby World Cup Sevens winner Richie Pugh took time out of his preparation for the 2012 Tokyo Sevens to answer fans questions.
The Welshman responded to tweets sent in via the official Sevens Twitter (@irbsevens) account and also answered fans questions from the official Sevens Facebook page which you can see below.
Richie, who is your most feared opponent?
Difficult really, but I think someone who we always struggle to defend against is IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika. He always has a knack of scoring tries against us, I think the past two games he has scored five or six tries. But he is a special player and someone we need to get to grips with.
What do you look for in a referee?
I understand how difficult it is for referees, I know they have to make split second decisions. But it is just consistency really, and in Sevens the breakdown area which is quite difficult to referee. But consistency in the game.
How are Wales going to defend the RWC Sevens in 2013?
It is going to be diffucult, because we know how good the teams are. But this is the first season we have had a consistency and a professional squad. We have a group of eight or nine players that are together now. Going into next year we will be training more together, and hopefully that will help us develop. If we can play like we did in the last tournament, who knows what can happen.
Who is the next Alex Cuthbert?
It is great to see Alex doing so well. He was with us through the past couple of seasons, and that is great. But you have to look at the likes of Harry Robinson, who after the Gold Coast Sevens was called into the national squad for training purposes. You have Tom Habberfield who is a special player, and other talent who may not be playing regional rugby but could strike an influence on Welsh rugby in Richard Smith and Adam Thomas, so there are a few players there who could develop.
Are you single?
I am not single, no. I am a married man myself.
Do you keep an eye on Exeter Chiefs' results?
Yeah I do. I had a good season there and enjoyed the club, one of the best clubs I have been involved with. I have a lot of friends down there so I keep tabs on them, and it is good to see them pushing for Heineken Cup rugby next year.
Who will be your toughest pool opponent this weekend in Tokyo?
We have a tough pool, it is diffcult. Russia, who will be hurting after last week in Hong Kong. Kenya always seem to do the job on us and we have Argentina who have shown how they can defend and how they fight for the game. It is going to be a battle, but we are looking forward to it.
How did you start playing rugby?
Naturally, being a Welsh boy. Grew up in Swansea, school rugby, and it just went from there. Aged six or seven, you are born with a rugby ball in your hand is the saying in Welsh and that is what happened with me. Always loved the game, always watched it, and parents have always pushed me into it so it's great.
Is this your first time in Tokyo? What are you looking forward to most about being here?
First time here and I am looking forward to it and the competition this weekend. Haven't been out and about much but I want to see the cultural difference between here and Wales. It seems an impressive place so far and it is a good place to have an IRB Sevens tournament.
Which round do you look forward to most and why?
Get asked this a lot. Every competition has its own different X-factor. Always look forward to Wellington, Hong Kong, Vegas, you can just keep naming them. Home tournaments are nice when you have home support coming up the M4 to Twickenham and they have always been kind to us. But Hong Kong last weekend was special just for the tradition of the game there.
So far this season we have been joined by IRB Sevens Player of the Year, Cecil Afrika and USA's NFL convert Miles Craigwell for live Twitter Q&A's, whilst New Zealand captain DJ Forbes responded to questions from Facebook in Hong Kong last week. Pugh was the first to combine both.
Wales currently sit seventh on the overall World Series standings, just one point behind Australia in seventh, and face pool matches with Argentina, Kenya and Russia this weekend in Tokyo.
In Dubai, Pugh was also taken to the skies by a helicopter in the second 'Sevens: Around the World', along with Fiji's Osea Kolinisau and South Africa's Kyle Brown.
Sevens: Around the World - Dubai
30-31 March 2013
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground