SAMURAI SELECT HIGH CLASS LADIES TEAM FOR GOLD COAST 7S.
The Samurai management team, which includes ex-Wallabies Cameron Lillicrap and Pat Howard (who also coached Leicester Tigers for the Gold Coast 7s) have selected a star studded ladies team for the Gold Coast 7s. The team will be captained by Cheryl Soon who will be winning her first Samurai cap.Samurai Team for Gold Coast 7s.
Representative honours Queensland (2006-), Queensland Sevens (2009-), Australia (2006-), Australian Sevens (2008-)
The daughter of former Fijian international Isimelo Batibasaga and cousin of former Qantas Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri. Iliseva is an experienced campaigner on the international womens Rugby circuit. A Brisbane girl, playing out of historical Queensland club Brothers. Great ball skills and foot work she will be one to watch.
Representative honours Australia (2008-), Australian Sevens (2008-)
The baby-faced speedster from New South Wales coastal town Bulli, Nicole Beck made her debut for Australia in both the full and 7’s versions of the game in 2008 after an impressive club season with Sydney University. Nicole is a proud member of the World Cup-winning Australia Women’s Sevens team which beat New Zealand in the final in Dubai in 2009. Nickname Pup from the late Shawn MacKay she put one of the BIGGEST hit in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2011. Speed to burn and fearless in defence.
Representative honours Australia (2009-), Australian Sevens (2010-)
Yes she is the Sister to Matt Giteau but has forged her own reputation in the Rugby world as an electrifying winger with a radar for the tryline. Kirsty is coming off a outstanding World Cup and looking to bring that to Samurai 7’s on the Gold Coast. The second eldest of four children and a self-confessed reality tv tragic, Kristy earned the nickname “Tri Nations” from her teammates for her inability to name her favourite sporting team, besides the Wallabies. Its must run in the Family leave half a gap and this Gitz is gone. Footwork, pace and a eye for the tryline Kristy will change a game up.
Representative honours Australia (2002, 2006-), Australian Sevens (2008-)
World Cup-winning Rugby Sevens star Alex Hargreaves is just what this team needs. She is fearless and a player most teams don’t want to play against. Her hard nose approach to the game on Rugby set the tone for how the game should be played. A teacher by trade, Alex enjoys surfing, camping, bike riding and wake boarding when away from the classroom. A strong ball carrier with her style of play will set the tone for the game.
Representative honours Australia (2009-)
From the Warringah club in Sydney Northern Beaches a talented centre who has successfully made the switch to Rugby after honing her skills on the touch football field. Cobie made her debut for the Wallaroos in 2009’s Rugby World Cup qualifier against Samoa and is also a promising Rugby Sevens player. Cobie outstanding passing game and speed will be a great help to her team.
Representative honours Australia (2006, 2008-)
This second rower was spotted at the Army Vs Navy/Air force national game in Canberra this year. Kate has a great understanding for that game of Rugby. A line out specialist who is always in the middle of the hard stuff. Kate attended the Australian Defence Force Academy and completed an Arts Degree majoring in Politics and History, she holds the rank of Lieutenant. Kate style of play will help the backs get the space they want great ball carrier with the skill of getting pass away under pressure.
Representative honours Australia (2001-2010), Australian Sevens (2008-2010)
Cheryl is one of the most influential and respected women to have worn the Green & Gold jersey. Cheryl is at the top of her game after almost a decade of service to the national squad, the dynamic No.9 famously captained the Australian Women’s Sevens team to World Cup glory last year. Her leadership & experience with her rugby understanding will guide this team well for the Gold Coast 7’s.
Representative honours Australia (2006-)
Rebecca is a very experienced backrower in the 15 a-side game. She coming to the 7’s with a style of play to back up with Alex Hargreaves and form a very strong forward back. Rebecca lives in Country New South Wales, Dubbo a great sporting country areas. Great good forward and defence Rebecca will make massive in roads for the backs.
Representative honours Australia (2008-)
Sharni was a stand out at the Rugby Union World Cup. A talented centre Sharni Williams hails from the rural New South Wales town of Batlow. A hard ball runner with great running line Sharni will be a hand full for any defence she is will come up against. A player to watch over the weekend of the rugby 7’s.
Representative honours Australia (2008-), Australian Sevens (2008-)
Rebecca Tavo was apart of the World Cup winning 7’s team. Rebecca comes from a touch back ground with super feet and passing game. She will be one of the players looking to show what she can do in the Gold coast 7’s.
Representative honours Australia Army(2010-) Australian Services Rugby Union(2010-)
Very much a new comer in rugby but has taken to Rugby like a duck to water. A outstanding performance in the Army Vs Navy and the Women’s National has gain her a lot of respect from some Senior Wallaroo’s and a player to watch for the future. With a super boot in her Hayley can get you out of a hard spot in a heart beat. A development player who is gain a lot from the experience.
Hayley Jane Neville
Representative honours Australia Army(2010-) Australian Services Rugby Union(2010-)
Apart of team Hayley. Hayley Sullivan & Miss Neville form Team H. Another new comer to rugby but has not stopped her turning head on the field. Fearless with ball in hand and a willingness learn Hayley will gain a lot from this 7’s. Speed and footwork will be her strong point. A Development player.
NINE SAMURAI PLAYERS TO REPRESENT ENGLAND AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES.
The England 7s team for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in India was announced yesterday with no less than 9 of the squad having been capped by Samurai International RFC in recent years.Ben Gollings who first played for Samurai in Amsterdam and Lisbon almost 10 years ago will Captain the team and he will be joined by Kev Barratt, John Brake, Dan Caprice, Chris Cracknell, Simon Hunt, Dan Norton, Tom Powell and Matt Turner who have all been part of the Samurai pathway to International honours. Samurai International RFC has a proven track record of finding future Internationals since its conception way back in 1996. With the 9 Samurai-capped players heading off to Delhi to represent their country, it is a great showcase for Samurai, showing that representing the famous club helps to both develop the player and also put them in a fantastic 7s shop window to help them achieve their aspirations and to go on to greater things.Be sure to check out England's progress as they face Sri Lanka, Australia and Uganda on the first day of the 16 man tournament on 11th October.
SAMURAI CONFIRM SEVENS IN THE SUN ON THE GOLD COAST.
Samurai International RFC have accepted an invitation to take part in Australia's Gold Coast 7s on November 13th/14th.
With the English domestic season well underway, player availability will be difficult for the management team.Ant Sauer a former Australian 7s player who played in Darwin last year for the Samurai International team, will Captain the side.
More announcements to follow...To keep up to date with the latest announcements and get the inside track on all things Samurai remember you can follow us on Twitter.
BARRACUDAS LOSE OUT TO ENGLAND AT HARPENDEN
A young Samurai Barracudas side just fell short at the Harpenden Sevens, only being stopped by an impressive England side in the final.
The Samurai development team gelled well as the day progressed but were eventually outclassed after some fine performances.
The day started with the Samurai Barracudas meeting for the first time at Harpenden RFC. The group matches got underway against the hard working Crazy Dawgs a team from Nottingham led by playmaker Rory Jones. A physical contest ensued as the Barracudas worked to find their structure and shape. An early try from promoted Samurai Shark Stuart Mackay gave them the lead only for the Crazy Dawgs to score from an interception. As the team started to gel under the guidance of coach Billy May, they started to find their shape, and a quick fire brace from James Greenwood helped the Barracudas run out comfortable winners 28 points to 5.
The Barracudas continued to improve throughout the next two group games with 36-0 win over Adinburians and a 45-0 win over Hollywood 7s who went on to win the plate competition. The Barracudas topped the group having only conceded one try so far and were drawn against Merlins in the last 16 of the cup. A clinical performance with trys from Greenwood, Stephenson and Mackay saw the Barracudas progress to the quarter finals with a 58-0 win. Next up was the RAF who Barracudas had met at the same stage last year. A tough game followed with the Barracudas failing to take chances and the RAF scoring several break-away tries. The Barracudas worked hard and ran out eventual winners 35-21 against a spirited RAF side.
The semi final was against the highly rated Apaches who scored first to take a 7-0 lead. Good work from Edwards and Mackay put speedster James Greenwood in against his old team and the Barracudas pulled it back to 14-14 at half time. A half time pep talk from coach Billy May saw the Barracudas close out and dominate the second half with an accomplished performance to win the semi final 31-14 and set up a final with England who had beaten Marauders in the other semi final.
The Barracudas came out firing and came close to scoring in the opening seconds but were punished by a clinical England side after an unforced handling error near the England line. England’s superior fitness and experience began to show with tries for Matt Turner and James Rodwell giving them a 19-0 lead at the break. Despite determineD pressure from the Barracudas with both Greenwood and Stephenson going close England’s defence held firm and the Barracudas conceded two more ties leaving the score at 31-0 at the final whistle. A clinicalperformance from a sharp looking England side, on the way to the Commonwealth Games in India, but a spirited performance from a young Barracudas team marking a great improvement from the start of the day.
Squad: Stevenson (c), Thirlby, Cain, Jones, Mackay, Edwards, Ball, Stephenson, Greenwood, Porter, Fleximan, Brown
Coach: Billy May
Physio: Emma Mark
Manager: Mark Dean
SAMURAI TURN THE TABLES AT MIDDLESEX
ULR Samurai International turned the tables on London Irish at Middlesex 7s on Saturday. In a repeat of last year's final, Samurai got their revenge against the Premiership outfit finally coming out on top 15-12 in a breathtaking contest.
The prestigious competition's unusual structure means that to win, a team must progress unbeaten throughout the tournament. This provides a huge challenge to the invitational teams such as Samurai as they look to bond and gel as quickly as possible, often having only two or three days to prepare as a squad.Samurai shot out of the blocks in their first game against invitational arch-rivals The White Hart Marauders.
After a disappointing semi-final loss in the final leg of the UK National Series at Newquay, the Samurai were keen for revenge and put in a brutal display that squeezed the life out of the Marauder's attack. Marius Schoeman, Ryno Benjamin, Zar Lawrence and Humphrey Kayange were among the scorers in an impressive display.
The quarter-final stage saw Samurai face the 14-time winners Harlequins with a star-studded line-up including Danny Care, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter. In a hotly contested contest Harlequins looked to have the upper hand for most of the match but dogged determination from the Samurai kept them in the game and they came from behind to win 17-12 after Quins went down to 6 men following a late hit by Danny Care. With some typical British summer rain making for greasy conditions, this was a real test for the Samurai but their win set up a semi-final with their National Series rivals, the British Army.
Following a summer of intense rivalry in the National Series, where the two sides were only separated by points difference, there is certainly no love lost between the British Army and Samurai. After some epic clashes over the summer, this was billed to be one of the games of the tournament. Samurai, however, had other ideas.Another devastating defensive display saw Samurai nil The Army – no mean feat against one of the most potent attacking forces on the circuit. After some clinical finishing brought around by tenacious defence, Samurai ended the game as victors 29-0, setting up a repeat against last year's winners, the ever impressive London Irish.
The final proved to be an absolute thriller with the difficult conditions making for a low-scoring war of attrition. Schoeman got Samurai off to a great start after a sustained period of possession led to the South African legend bundling over in the corner for an unconverted score.The Londoners responded well with a 5-pointer of their own before delivering a hammer-blow before half time with a converted try on the whistle to bring the half time score to 12-5. The Samurai would have to come from behind for the second time that day if they wanted to claim the Middlesex trophy.From the kick-off Samurai retained possession superbly and recycled through a number of phases to carve an opening for for Humphrey Kayange who off-loaded well to the supporting Paul Delport who scampered in for the score. The conversion was missed so Samurai remained behind at 12-10.Great work from the restart saw Samurai claim possession and send Kenyan international Collins Injera in to the corner for a quick-fire score, completely turning the tables giving Samurai a 15-12 lead.With two minutes to go, London Irish looked to have blown their chance at the title by losing a player to the sin-bin for a high tackle. Despite this, the Premiership outfit rallied superbly to put huge pressure on the Samurai defence in an exhausting 3 minute passage of over-time play. It went right down to the wire with Delon Armitage chipping over the defence in the Samurai 22 to initiate a foot race to the ball, winner takes all. Samurai won the race and kicked the ball off the pitch, sparking joyous celebrations from the management and supporters as some of the players collapsed to the ground in exhaustion having given their all in the gruelling 20-minute final.
The ULR Samurai International team at Middlesex 7s really showed the value of playing for each other. On paper the team was world-class but throughout the day they had to rally together to work as a unit to overcome some excellent teams. A brutal and relentless defence was the cornerstone of the team's win which allowed their class to shine through in attack.
SAMURAI CAPTURE CWMTAWE
Despite a brave fight back from Welsh specialist 7s outfit Tonmawr in the Cwmtawe Sevens on Saturday, (7th August) the ULR Samurai International RFC team ran out winners 29 – 17 in the final to secure their 4th Cwmtawe title.
The Samurai management had a difficult few days in the run up to the tournament as they lost 3 players during an eventful week. Mark Odejobi, Charlie Marr and Sam Cain all stepped in at short notice and did an excellent job in helping Samurai bring home the trophy.
The UK National Sevens Series champions beat the Warriors 29 – 12 and Kamikaze 34 – 12 in their pool games before defeating the Ponty Butchers 29 – 14 in the quarter final.In the semi-final Samurai faced a Llanelli team that had looked very strong throughout the tournament, but the Samurai team put in their best performance of the day as they ran out winners 38 - 0 points with Kayange (2), Odejobi, Tellwright, Schoeman and Injera all getting on to the score sheet.In the gruelling 20 minute final Samurai scored 2 early tries through Kayange and Odejobi but were then guilty of taking their foot of the gas with Kevin James pulling a try back for Tonmawr.
Injera then helped himself to a well taken try to maintain their buffer as they went into half time 17 – 5 up Samurai were again guilty of relaxing and so allowed Tonmawr’s sprightly scrum half to score a well taken and converted try in the left hand corner. With the score now standing at 17 – 12 Tonmawr could sense an upset, but 'man of the tournament' Humphrey Kayange stepped up a gear and helped himself to 2 well executed tries before Kevin James scored again just before the final whistle with Samurai taking the title with a well deserved 29- 17 victory.
On Sunday (8th) a young Samurai development team 'Samurai Sharks' took the first ever Wild Boar 7s title in Camberley as they defeated a spirited Redingensians team 19 – 17 in the final.
MARIUS SCHOEMAN TO CAPTAIN SAMURAI AT MIDDLESEX
ULR Samurai International have named South Africa 7s stalwart Marius Schoeman as captain for the upcoming Middlesex 7s.
The versatile Schoeman called time on his international 7s career following South Africa’s victorious 2008/09 campaign. Playing in 39 IRB tournaments since 2001 and accumulating 103 tries, only a handful of players have more experience in the international sevens arena, making him the perfect leader for last year’s finalists as they look to go one better this time around. Marius knows what it means to play for the Samurai, having won Amsterdam in 2008 and finished as a runner up at Middlesex 2009 and will be determined to go one better this year and lift the trophy.
ULR Samurai Manager Terry Sands said “We are delighted to have Marius on board for this world-famous tournament. Having played for us before, he knows what is required in terms of effort and performance and his experience, versatility and professionalism make him an ideal leader for the Samurai as we look to continue our success onthe back of the National Series victory.”Sands has been busy building another typically competitive squad for this year’s event and can confirm that Samurai International RFC’s player of the UK National Series, Mark Bright will also be pulling on the famous shirt at Twickenham on August 14th. Mark captained the Samurai to victory in the inaugural competition and will look to put his physical presence to good use at Twickenham.
SAMURAI WIN INAUGURAL NATIONAL SEVENS SERIES
ULR SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL have been crowned inaugural National Sevens Series champions despite suffering a shock defeat at the semi-final stage of Newquay Surf 7s.
Reaching the cup final would guarantee a series win and having a number of regular players unavailable for selection, the Samurai team would have to gel quickly to achieve their goal. The group stage provided a good opportunity to do this with Samurai brushing aside the Kamikaze followed by the Ronin with ease, only conceding one try in the process. One disappointment from the group stages came in the loss of Dom Shaboo to a hamstring injury that would rule him out of the rest of the tournament.
The Akuma Smurfs were confirmed as Samurai's quarter-final opponents. They would be looking for revenge following their loss in the group stages of the Manchester leg of the series.A bright start by the Samurai saw the score stand at 17-0 at half time, primed to push home for the win in the second period. However, in typical Smurfs style, the Welshmen hit back and took the lead with only time for one last play. A superb take by Samurai captain Mark Bright from the restart was the catalyst for some patient play that led to a fantastic Errie Claassens break, finished off by Josh Drauniniu. The referee blew the final whistle and Samurai proceeded to a semi-final against fierce rivals White Hart Marauders by the skin of their teeth
.Knowing that a semi-final victory would confirm Samurai as National Series champions, the pressure was on to deliver against the Marauders and the favourites got off to the worst possible start with the lively Paul Jarvis catching Samurai asleep and darting over after a quick tap penalty. In an arm-wrestle of a match with few chances, it looked like it would be a tense, low-scoring affair and it certainly proved so. With Samurai struggling to find any fluency or rhythm to their play, Jarvis claimed a second score to leave the Samurai facing an uphill battle at 12-0 down on the half-time whistle. With time running out Errie Claassens showed great strength to score under the posts and reduce the deficit to 12-7 as Samurai looked to complete a miracle escape for the second game in a row. A frustrating final 3 minutes failed to produce another score and the Samurai were architects of their own downfall, providing the shock of the tournament and failing to reach the final for the first time in the National Series.
All eyes were now on the final in which the British Army (equal on Series points) would have to beat the Marauders by 47 points to claim the Series title. With the Marauders looking tired following their surprise win against the Samurai, the Army raced to a 24-0 half time lead with Apo Satala pulling the strings for the military men.
Things were looking ominous for the nervous Samurai who could only watch as their fate was in the hands of others.The second half saw
the Marauders up their game. A number of penalties against the Army meant that time was beginning to run out for them. The Marauders clawed a score back which meant the Army had it all to do and despite a late score, the Marauders had done enough to restrict the Army to a 29-7 victory prompting wild celebrations from the Samurai, winning the overall National Sevens Series title on points difference by 25 points Fantastic victories at RugbyRocks and the West Country 7s provided the platform for Samurai's victory, with a great effort just falling short at Manchester. Keeping three or four quality core players throughout the series benefited the Samurai as they provided a bit of selection continuity which helped to play some fantastic sevens.
The Army had the luxury of calling on an almost identical squad at every tournament and training a number of times a week as a team which makes the magnitude of this achievement even more impressive. Credit must go to all the players involved as they bought in to the Samurai ethos and bonded very quickly each event to develop a huge amount of camaraderie and team ethic that, under normal circumstances would take a considerable time to develop. A below par performance at Newquay made for a nail-biting finish but ultimately Samurai deserved their title as inaugural National Sevens Series Champions.
SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL CONFIRM TEAM FOR NEWQUAY
The Samurai management have finally been able to confirm their team for this weekend's final leg of the UK National Series at the Newquay Surf 7s.
Mark Bright (Capt)
SELECTION SETBACKS FOR SAMURAI
The ULR SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL team have suffered a selection setback for the final leg of the UK National Series that takes place on Saturday in Newquay.
This weekend's tournament is make or break for the ULR Samurai International team as they hold a slender 8 point lead going into the final leg of the National Series, with the British Army team hot on their heels. Player unavailability could not have hit the team at a worse possible time.Final selection has been a topsy turvy affair with further changes being necessary on Wednesday Morning with the final team selection still unable to be confirmed.
Mike Friday, Paul John and Russell Earnshaw are also not available to coach this weekend meaning Amsterdam-winning Mark Hewitt will take over the reigns for this all important series decider.One player that can be confirmed is ever present Samurai Captain Mark Bright who will be accompanied by fellow Samurai's Gavin Dacey, Tom Wiley and Rhys Jones. Former Wales 7s player Rob Lewis will hopefully be available and will certainly have big boots to fill with Lee Rees and John Brake both being unavailable for selection, along with the influential Carl Murray and Geoff Griffiths.
This weekend will now prove to be a real test of Samurai's trademark team spirit and resolve, with management and players all needing to pull together to jump the final series hurdle!
FINAL HURDLE TOO HIGH FOR SAMURAI
ULR SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL will have to wait until Newquay Surf 7s to see if they can claim the inaugural National Sevens Series crown. After narrowly missing out in another hotly-contested final against the British Army in Manchester,
The Samurai will need to make the final on 17th July to secure the title; no mean feat with every team out to beat the series leaders.Fielding a much changed team from the West Country 7s, The Samurai looked to bond quickly on the pitch and a 10.20am start against the ever-improving Akuma Smurfs certainly provided a stern test to start the day. Samurai scored three well worked tries before the Welshmen worked their way back in to the game but a Geoff Griffiths try sealed a relatively comfortable 22-12 win.
The Samurai looked to improve their defensive display in their second game against the Ronin but a scrappy game combined with some odd refereeing decisions resulted in a frustrating 19-7 win for the series leaders with new-boys Martin Purdey and Billy Ngawini touching down along with captain Carl Murray.The quarter finals brought a new opposition to The Samurai, Olorun ID. The prospect of the unknown ID sparked a brutal defensive performance by Samurai, with their systems working well and capitalising on the pressure they created. Angus Martyn grabbed a hat-trick while Geoff Griffiths and Jamie Hearn Wrapped up a ruthless 33-0 victory.
Familiar foes HFW Wailers provided a tough obstacle to the final, eventually going down 17-14 in an intriguing tie. A steely performance saw The Samurai starve their opponents of the ball in the latter stages to secure a hard-fought win despite the best efforts of Hamish Smales and Steve Parsons. This victory set up a rematch of the West Country 7s final against the British Army.
Samurai started the brighter in the final with John Brake and Gavin Dacey both showing good pace to finish well-worked scores. After an arm-wrestle of a first half the Army reduced the deficit to 10-7 thanks to a Gus Qasevakatini effort just before the break.In an increasingly tense and absorbing encounter, Gerhard Wessells and Tom Wiley exchanged well-taken scores to give Samurai a 15-12 advantage before the turning point of the match. Apo Satala found Qasevakatini who scampered in for his second of the game under controversial circumstances. In an attempt to score under the posts, it appeared the Fijian had put a foot out of bounds on the dead ball line, but despite protests from the covering John Brake, the try stood. With a few dropped passes and decisions going against them it looked as though it would not be the Samurai's day and when Qasevakatini completed his hat-trick, the mountain was too high to climb even for the never-say-die Samurai.
The final score saw the Army victorious 26-15, condemning Samurai to their first National Series defeat and staying in the hunt for the Inaugural title.An appearance in the final at Surf 7s will be enough to guarantee a Samurai victory but every team will be out to beat them...
DOUBLE BLOW FOR SAMURAI
The ULR SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL team were dealt a double blow today, with the news that Simon Hunt AND John Rudd are unavailable for this weekends UK National Series event at Manchester.
Hunt, who was man of the tournament at the Amsterdam and Richmond 7s, will not have recovered from the ankle injury he picked up at the West Country 7s last week. John Rudd is unavailable due to a family wedding.
The ULR Samurai team will also be without West Country 7s player of the tournament, Lee Rees this weekend as he returns to Llanelli Scarlets for pre season training.The close knit spirit and resolve of the Samurai team will now be needed more than ever this weekend as they look to secure a top 4 place to keep ahead of the series leader board.
BACK TO BACK FOR SAMURAI IN THE NATIONAL SERIES
The ULR SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL team overcame a 14-0 deficit to defeat a visibly pumped up British Army side in a pulsating final at the West Country Sevens. With effort, work rate and clinical finishing paying dividends later in the day, the win puts them firmly in the driving seat on maximum points at the half way stage of the series.
An early start saw Samurai kick the tournament off at 10am with a 56-0 win over Raging Bull Ronin. Despite finishing off chances and taking advantage of some lacklustre defending, it was far from a perfect performance as the team looked to gel as quickly as possible.
A well organised Apache team were eventually disposed of in the second of the group games, securing the Samurai a quarter-final tie with the Gilbert Pups.Domination at the restart proved to be the key to victory in a bruising encounter with the men in pink. After falling behind 7-5 Samurai quickly went through the gears to assert their authority. Two late tries by the Pups both brought some respectability to the scoreline and raised some concerns over the physical state of some of the Samurai team. Despite the 36-21 scoreline, the team looked tired and lacking in energy and would have to pick themselves up for a tough semi-final some 2 hours later.The semi-final saw the strong rivalry between the Samurai and Marauders resumed in a clinical performance by the series leaders. Geoff Griffiths, John Rudd, Jake Abbott and Mark Bright all crossed the line before a consolation try brought the score to 26-5. A strong period of energetic second-half defence defined this performance by the Samurai, a big boost before
The final against the potent British Army.
With the crowd in good spirits enjoying the early evening sunshine, the stage was set for a hotly contested final that would not disappoint. Some slack midfield tackling and a defensive mix-up saw the Army capitalise to take an early 14-0 lead however a devastating dart through the heart of the Army's defence saw Lee Rees put Geoff Griffiths away for a try that kept the Samurai hot on their heels. John Rudd powered over before half time reduce the Army'slead to 14-12 at the break. The close-knit team spirit developed throughout the weekend was clear to see in a passionate but focussed half-time team talk, with every member of the squad ready to work for each other for the last 10 minutes of a gruelling day. A piece of individual skill from man of the tournament Lee Rees saw him collect his own chip to score after some robust work from the Samurai forwards.Buoyed by the success of their structured, clinical play Samurai began to turn the screw on the Army with Jake Abbott and Rhys Jones both crossing the line for well worked scores. Mike Davis scampered in for a try in repost to an Army score and with time running out, it looked as though the title belonged to the Samurai.The Army grabbed two late scores to keep the crowd on their toes but the devastating post-half-time surge by the Samurai proved enough to claim their second win in two weeks and enhance their lead on the top of the National Series table.
SAMURAI WIN RUGBYROCKS
THE ULR SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL won the first leg of the UK National Series on Saturday at the Richmond Rugby Rocks event.
The team certainly did it the hard way with wins in the last second against Apache in the pool games and again in the ¼ final against HFW Wailers. It’s fair to say that the Samurai players had a never say die inner belief throughout the tournament however, the management team were often left biting their nails on the side lines! The tournament as expected was of a high standard with every core side being of a similar standard. It was often the case that a single mistake from a player, a poor decision or poor bounce of the ball would decide the outcome.
Samurai narrowly disposed of the White Hart Marauders at the ¼ final stages but once again it was only in the latter stages of the game that victory was secured. Simon Hunt continued his rich vein of form as he helped himself to 9 tries and the man of the tournament award. The team had gelled together well for their recent Amsterdam 7s victory and continued in the same vein at Richmond, to win a pulsating final against Esher. All team managers have now been fully alerted to just how close this series is going to be and next week’s tournament at the West Country 7s is bound to see games that are even more closely contested.
Can Samurai stretch their lead or will another core team take control?
Make sure you log into www.ur7s.com to catch up with all the latest news……….
ULR SAMURAI EARN PLACE AT THE MIDDLESEX 7S
The ULR Samurai International team, after reaching the final in 2009, is honored to be invited to return to attend the 2010 tournament, to be held at Twickenham Stadium on August 14th.
The team will be coached by Mike Friday and Managed by John Elliott in what promises to once again be a great day out for the Samurai players and their supporters.
Friday, Elliott and playing Chairman Terry Sands have now started the selection process where they intend to continue the invitation team ethos by selecting players of varied nationalities.
England, Wales, Scotland, British Army and teams from the Guinness Premiership, will form part of the 16 team tournament.
Tickets for what promises to be a fantastic day of exhilarating rugby, are available from the link on the Middlesex Sevens banner on our home page.
SAMURAI SAVE THE BEST TILL LAST
The ULR Samurai International team put in a faultless performance in the final of the Amsterdam Sevens on Sunday, to extend their Amsterdam winning run to 6 consecutive wins.
With many new faces in the Samurai Team and a distinct lack of training time, it was always going to take the team time to gel and to get used to the structures and game plan, put in place by Samurai coaches Peter Richards and Mark Hewitt. As each pool game was played the team got better and better and the last pool game against the Nike Bowerman team, proved to be exactly what they needed.
The full size Dutch National pitch came as a big shock to the team, having played their previous games on the smaller satellite pitches. It took the Samurai team a while to get into gear before finally running out winners by 3 tries to 1
The Sunday pool games pitched the Samurai Team against Castricum from Holland and VGA from France. Despite early resistance from both teams, the Samurai ran out comfortable winners.
With the Samurai now facing CSR Nanok in the quarter finals, (surprise winners against Wooden Spoon in the pool games) team performances were improving at a rate of knots and despite Nanok putting up a spirited fight, Samurai took the spoils to set up a re run of last year’s semi final to face the Gilbert Stoned Pups.
Samurai came out in a spirited mood which saw Gavin Dacey help himself to a well taken try after only 2 minutes ably converted by Mikey Davis. For the next couple of minutes the game went from end to end before the Pups pulled one back to level the scores. Samurai then tightened their grip on the game with a great try from Simon Hunt to help them sneak ahead. 2 more tries from Tom Wiley and again from Hunt meant, the Samurai never looked back as they reached their 6th consecutive Amsterdam 7s final.
The ULR Samurai International team now faced the much fancied Millfield Old Boys 7s team in the final. The Millfield Old Boys team included John Brake (England 7s) Miles Mantella and Tom Parker from London Irish, and Adam Clayton from Pertemps Bee’s. They had played some wonderful 7s rugby in the lead up to the final beating strong HFW Wailers and Marauders sides along the way.
The final was to be played in front of a close to capacity crowd in the Dutch National Stadium and as the whistle blew crowd favourites Millfield received the ball. Samurai pressured the Millfield team and in doing so turned the ball over in midfield. The Samurai team maintained possession and pushed forward with a fine display of 7s rugby. Despite a passionate Millfield defence, Geoff Griffiths was on hand to score a really well worked try centre field, followed by a Mikey Davis conversion.
Millfield struck back through Miles Mantella in the far left corner after some excellent work by John Brake to make the score 7 – 5 to Samurai.
Samurai Captain Carl Murray, rallied his troops and having led by example throughout the tournament his team mates immediately rose to the challenge. Samurai gained possession straight from the kick off and after further outstanding interplay between forwards and backs, Oriol Ripol went over to stretch the Samurai lead.
The tone was set and in an almost faultless display of 7s rugby Samurai starved Millfield of possession, leading to 2 further outstanding tries for ‘’man of the tournament’’ Simon Hunt.
As the second half kicked off it was clear to see that Samurai had saved their best till last. Millfield were turned over time and again as the Samurai front 3 dominated the contact area. Hunt scored again to complete his treble, with further tries being scored by Murray (2) and Dacey to bring the final score to 44 – 5. It was an excellent team performance to extend the Samurai run of consecutive victories, at the Amsterdam Sevens to 6.
The next stop for the Samurai team will be the Rugby Rocks 7s in London on 12th June, where they will compete in the new UK National Sevens series. One thing is for certain, they will be hard pushed to better their final performance in Amsterdam..............
SO CLOSE SAMURAI..
The ULR Samurai International team put in a fantastic performance at the 2010 GFI Hong Kong Tens to reach their first ever Tens final.
The Samurai team were playing in honour of their former coach Colin Hillman who was also the former Wales 7s coach, who had died last July after a long illness.
The ULR Samurai team certainly had the toughest of draws where they had to play and beat Penguins International, French Pyrenees and New Zealand Legends on their way to the final. Whilst the experienced Aliens searched for their 9th victory the Samurai were looking for a maiden win at the Tens and this year it was going to be even harder as the standard was exceptional.
With the Aliens being top seeds they rightly earned the longer rest period after their semi final and in humid conditions this was a worthwhile advantage.
Both teams started the final in a nervous fashion in what was the events major showpiece and was being played in front of a capacity crowd.
Samurai International RFC…...Helping players, to help their team and to help themselves!
SAMURAI TO PLAY IN HK TO HONOUR EX-COACH..
Samurai International RFC will play in memory of former Wales Sevens coach Colin Hillman at this month's GFI Hong Kong Football Club Tens. Hillman, who died in July after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, was part of the Welsh national sevens set-up which won the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai last March. He was also a longstanding coach of the Samurai International team at the HKFC Tens and many other Global tournaments.
"Colin's favourite tournament and indeed his favourite city was Hong Kong and it is therefore fitting the team will return in his honour," said Terry Sands, founder of the ULR Samurai International team. "Colin was my closest friend and I thought the absolute world of him. He has assisted me with the Samurai team for many, many years and without him the team would never have seen the success they have. It was a privilege to work with him. "He will be sadly missed by everyone," Sands added.
The Welsh Rugby Union now awards caps to the all Wales sevens internationals which included the Rugby World Cup Sevens winning players. In recognition of all the players who have previously played the shortened game for Wales under Hillman, a ceremonial `first cap' was presented to Janine Hillman, Colin's widow, as a tribute to her husband's services to sevens rugby in Wales. Samurai International have a tough group at the 10s where they will play the Penguins, Cardiff University and hosts Hong Kong Football Club in the preliminary rounds at the 16-team tournament on March 24 and 25. They have never progressed past the Cup semi-final stage, but will be hoping to go further to give a fitting tribute to Hillman.