USA Sevens Pool A profile: RSA, KEN, WAL, CAN

(IRB) Thursday 23 January 2014
 
 USA Sevens Pool A profile: RSA, KEN, WAL, CAN
The return of former captain Humphrey Kayange is a major boost for Kenya and coach Paul Treu

We look at the four teams in Pool A at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas, defending champions South Africa, Kenya, Wales and Canada.

South Africa

Coach: Neil Powell
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 2
USA Sevens 2013: Cup winners
2012/13 Series: 2nd

This is almost as good as it gets for Neil Powell. The engine room upfront is intact with Frankie Horne and Chris Dry alongside captain Kyle Brown. The oft- unsung Stephan Dippenaar is back from injury, a real boost. Werner Kok played a key role in PE and there's more pace to burn out wide with Sampie Mastriet and the returning Seabelo Senatla. They're likely to see the ball in space too with Branco du Preez, Justin Geduld and Cecil Afrika (three tries from 100) primed for playmaking duties. Philip Snyman is a really useful utility player and Rosko Specman must be some player to keep out Jamba Ulengo and make his debut. The defending USA Sevens champions and on a roll after their win on home soil last time out.

Kenya

Coach: Paul Treu
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 7
USA 2013: Shield semi-finalists
2012/13 Series: 5th

Paul Treu's disappointment at losing powerhouse forward Andrew Amonde to injury is offset by the return to fitness and availability of Humphrey Kayange, Oscar Ouma, Billy Odhiambo and Dennis Ombachi. In Amonde's absence flyer Collins Injera is handed the responsibility of captaincy and Tonny Owuor makes his debut. Arguably the toughest of the pools so they will need to hit their straps from the get-go and should enjoy a large contingent of US-based Kenyan support.

Wales

Coach: Gareth Williams
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 9
USA 2013: Plate semi-finalists
2012/13 Series: 7th

The big news for Wales is a change of coach, World Cup winner from 2009 Paul John having stepped down to take up a role with the Cardiff Blues. Gareth Williams steps up to the task for Vegas and Wellington and for his first squad has the benefit of recalling fit-again captain Adam Thomas. Lee Williams' injury-enforced lay-off is a blow but Rhys Jones and Rhys Shellard both lend experience, while Dylan Morgan is the only debutant. They will miss the pace of Chris Knight, while Alex Webber is also not quite fit yet.

Canada

Coach: Geraint John
2013/14 position (after 3 rounds): 13
USA 2013: Plate winners
2012/13 Series: 12th

By their ever-improving standards, Canada are lying low so far this season and it will concern coach Geraint John that they are yet to reach a Cup quarter final. Port Elizabeth was particularly cruel and they currently lie 13th in the standings but they refer to this as their 'home' event and support will be strong. Nathan Hirayama is still on the recovery bench, Sean Duke is also not quite ready to return and Ciaran Hearn's injury is a big loss - there is no denying that all three are key for Canada - but with captain John Moonlight, Nanyak Dala, Harry Jones, Conor Trainor and Phil Mack there's still plenty of quality to push for Cup quarter-final contention. That first match against Kenya is massive for both sides.

Las Vegas Sevens

Round 4
24-26 Jan 2014

Venue: Sam Boyd Stadium
City: Las Vegas
Capacity: 36,800

 
Pools
Pool A
TeamPlayedPts
RSA39
CAN37
KEN35
WAL33
Pool B
TeamPlayedPts
NZL39
AUS37
FIJ35
SCO33
Pool C
TeamPlayedPts
SAM39
ENG37
POR35
URU33
Pool D
TeamPlayedPts
FRA39
ARG37
USA35
ESP33
more
Photos
  • Cecil Afrika
  • South Africa won the USA Sevens
  • Zack Test, USA