Heineken 7’s Tournament
Written by Gavin on 4th May 2017
Picture – Representatives of the teams taking part in the Heineken 7s with James Davies, holders Llandovery represented by Lewis Ellis-Jones, Jodie Evans of the Scarlets who was there for the womens draw and Llanelli’s Tom Phillips representing the host club at Parc y Scarlets for the draw
Triple-defending Heineken 7s champions Llandovery will begin their defence of the title against Neath, at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 27 May.
Led expertly by playmaker Jack Maynard in the Foster’s 7s at the beginning of the season, the newly re-named tournament will be another chance for him and his fellow team mates to impress Wales 7s management as they look to bolster their ranks with the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup 7s front of mind for next season.
Hosts Llanelli begin their campaign against Merthyr with the third participating side from the Scarlets region, Carmarthen Quins taking on Cardiff.
Swansea will take on Bridgend, while on the other side of the draw, Aberavon, beaten finalists last time out, start their programme against Ebbw Vale with Bargoed taking on Pontypridd.
Last year’s Plate winners Newport tackle Bedwas while last year’s losing Plate finalists RGC 1404 will play Cross Keys – Cup semi-finalists last year – in the remaining game in the opening round.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams said,
“This is a vital competition for identifying and developing our next international sevens players. The tournament has been brought forward from the end of August with a view to potentially selecting players into our set-up for the Rugby Europe tournaments this summer, and as we have seen in recent years, players who impress on that circuit are in prime position to put themselves forward for World Series selection.
“With the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens taking place next year, it’s an exciting time for rugby sevens and a fantastic opportunity for any players who impress at Parc y Scarlets at the end of the month.”
In the women’s tournament, current champions Newport Gwent Dragons take on Cardiff Blues while home side and last year’s losing finalists Scarlets host the Ospreys.
Wales Women Sevens head coach Nick Wakley said:
“With Wales Women Sevens playing in Amsterdam that weekend the Heineken 7s is an ideal opportunity for some of the most promising young players to show what they can do on a high profile stage.
The tournament is a really important development tool to increase our pool of sevens talent. We hope to participate in the Commonwealth Games next April and there is every opportunity for players who do well at Parc y Scarlets to break into the Wales Sevens squad in time for that multi-sports global event.”
“As we saw with Jaz Joyce’s rise to Team GB in Rio, there is an opportunity now to impress and progress to the very top, both for Wales and Team GB.”