Ospreys scrum half Tom Grabham has been rewarded for some fine performance on the IRB Sevens Circuit by being appointed captain of the Wales Sevens squad ahead of this weekend's series in Moscow.
Wales will be looking to replicate their recent success in Lyon when taking part in this weekend’s FIRA AER European Grand Prix. Following the positive experience in Lyon, the squad are looking forward to maintaining their standards and improving on their final position of 4th in the opening tournament.
Exciting Ospreys Scrum Half Tom Grabham takes over the captaincy from Rhys Jones while Newport winger Ifan Evans has been brought in to add vital experience to a young side.
“Tom deserves such an opportunity because his level of performance and his maturity and leadership qualities within our environment have been excellent. Ifan’s scoring prowess on the World Series can not be ignored, and it will be good to see him back on the international stage working with an enthusiastic group of youngsters,” added Williams.
“Following the positive experience in Lyon, the squad are looking forward to maintaining our standards and improving on our final position of 4th in the opening tournament. We’ve brought in five new players who are given opportunities, as the ethos of our FIRA program is to unearth potential World Series players for the upcoming season.”
The young Welsh Sevens side produced their best ever result in France when reaching the play-off for third and fourth place in the opening round. In a closely fought encounter Spain edged home with a 17-14 victory to pip Wales at the post. Looking back on the French leg, Wales Sevens assistant coach Gareth Williams, said: “It was pleasing to reach a semi-final in France. The boys competed well in the latter stage matches. We gained our highest finish at any FIRA tournament in the last two years and it was also a good exercise in exposing a large amount of new players to international level sevens.
Wales find themselves in a difficult pool, with defending champions England firm favourites to progress.
“As always, we will be challenging but our focus is firmly on starting well against a very accomplished Georgian team on Saturday morning,” explained Williams. ”England, the series leaders, will be favourites to win the group and we have been working to eradicate vital areas that cost us against them in the Lyon semi-final. Russia will also be keen to impress on home soil, and avenge the draw we played out in Lyon to prevent them from progressing from our group into the Cup competition.”Ukraine and the Netherlands complete our fixtures and these two teams showed in Lyon they have the capability to turn any side over at any time. The challenge has been plainly set out to our boys, and there is also the carrot that 12 months from now, the Sevens World Cup will be held in Moscow. Events here could be the start of an exciting road towards that competition for any individual involved.”
Wales Sevens FIRA side:
James Davies (Carmarthen Quins)
Ifan Evans (Core Sevens and Newport)
Craig Attwel (Newport)
Jason Harris (Carmarthen Quins)
James Benjamin (Dragons Academy)
Tom Grabham (Captain) – Ospreys)
Will Thomas (Core Sevens)
Luke Treharne (Exeter University)
Luke Williams (Unattached)
Owen Jenkins (Blues Academy)
Tom Williams (Blues)
Hallam Amos (Dragons Academy)