Exciting Bulldogs squad for East Grinstead.....
All at Samurai are very excited by the announcement of the first Bulldogs squad of the year for the Sunshine 7’s on Sunday 28th April. The squad encapsulates everything that we are trying to achieve with the Bulldogs; it has an average age of 19, players are from Schools, Universities and Championship Clubs and players whose ability has not been picked up by National selectors or Premiership clubs.
After forming excellent relationships with schoolmasters, Directors of rugby at University and watching the Surrey U18 and Rosslyn Park 7’s, Sam Howard has selected a very exciting and talented squad. Many of these young men would not have the chance to accelerate their 7’s skills, which have been developed over many years and through much hard work at their schools, and hopefully the Bulldogs give them a chance to both continue enjoying the 7’s experience whilst also enhance their reputation and increasing their skills and understanding of the 7’s game.
A few of the players who we are delighted to have playing for us are Tommy O’ Flaherty who was the stand out schoolboy scrum half in the country for Dulwich College last year but had no representative selection or premiership club recognition but was snapped up by Blackheath and was playing National One rugby within two weeks of being at the club. We have the very exciting Treharne brothers – Luke and Dai - which also demonstrates how we are looking to include players from all over Britain. The youngest player in the Squad is George Wacokecoke, who is still only 17 but has shown blistering pace on the schools circuit this year.
Sunshine 28th April
Buchan Richardson - 18, Wellington College
Shaq Meyers - 19, Bedford Blues
Hugo Kelly - 21, Cambridge Uni
4. Half Back
Dai Treherne-18, Coleg sir Gar
5. Half back
Luke Treharne - 20, Exeter Uni
Will Smith - 20, Cambridge Uni
Joe Battle -18, Hampton School
Matt Eliet - 18, Tonbridge School
Tom Brown - 22, Bath Uni
10. Half back
Tom O Flaherty -18, Blackheath
Tom Bellak - 19, Tigers
George Wacokecoke -17, St Jo's College
Samurai pipped by Penguins in dramatic GFI HKFC Tens final
ULR Samurai International lost 21-14 to HSBC Penguins in a dramatic GFI HKFC Tens final at Hong Kong Football Club. A Fijian-dominated squad helped the third-seeded Samurai reach the Cup final for the second time in four years, after losing 10-0 to Aliens in 2010.
Sailosi Naiteqe, head coach of Naitasiri province and a Fiji Sevens selector, was in charge of the new-look side, two years after organising an all-Fijian team for the Safari Sevens in Nairobi, where Samurai beat Spain and hosts Kenya on the way to reaching the final.
Most of the Samurai players in Hong Kong had represented their country in the sevens or 15-a-side format and the Fijian focus represented a change in direction for the invitational team, whose previous squads for the GFI HKFC Tens were dominated by New Zealanders.
Nasoni Roko, Fiji’s record try scorer on the IRB Sevens World Series, and former Rugby World Cup Sevens-winning teammate Marika Vunibaka were among the recognisable faces in Hong Kong, where both had won the Sevens title many times.
The squad’s more recent internationals included forwards Pio Tuwai and James Brown, scrumhalf Kelemedi Bola, 2011 World Cup fullback Iliesa Keresoni and highly rated 19-year-old centre Josua Tuisova, Tuwai’s younger brother.
The new-look squad gelled quickly and topped Pool C on the first day with wins over hosts Newedge Club (52-5), Freshfields Wild Titans of Germany (26-0) and sixth seeds Tag Heuer Eyewear Pyrenees of France (7-0).
On day two, Samurai faced Hill and Associates Scottish Barbarians in the Cup quarter-final and scored two tries to win 10-0 against a side featuring six current Scotland Sevens squad players.
Naiteqe’s men faced a huge challenge in the semi-final against Tradition YCAC, an all-Kiwi team far stronger than its seventh seeding and who had beaten Penguins – the second seeds and eventual champions – in the pool stage.
Led by Kane Hancy, a three-time winner and two-time MVP, and featuring Jack Wilson and Iopu Iopu from last year’s New Zealand Sevens team, YCAC were rated as the team to beat, especially after Tana Umaga’s top-seeded BGC APB All Stars lost to Penguins in the quarter-final.
However, Samurai produced one of the finest performances of the tournament as they went 19-0 ahead in the first half with a blistering display of attacking rugby and aggressive, pressing defence. Pio Tuwai scored the first before the dreadlocked Roko ran in two tries to take his tally to five for the tournament.
YCAC bounced back and touched down twice in the second half through Jed Brown and Wilson, but Samurai held on for a famous 19-12 win and a place in the final against Penguins, who had beaten Malaysian club Cobra 22-17 in another competitive semi-final.
Both Samurai and Penguins – two famous UK-based invitational teams – were both seeking their first win in their seventh appearance, so the atmosphere was at fever pitch inside a packed Football Club for the 8.05pm kick-off.
Penguins went ahead through Australian flanker Dylan Sigg, but Samurai made it 7-7 when Paula Tiko sprinted on to collect Roko’s bouncing kick.
Sigg then set up former Hong Kong scrumhalf Johnny Gbenda-Charles to put Penguins ahead, but Samurai again drew level at 14-14, this time following an impressive break by Bola, part of the Flying Fijians side who played against England in front of 80,000 fans at Twickenham last November. Saula Rabaka made his second conversion to make it nine for the tournament.
The score remained deadlocked for much of the second half. However, with the clock ticking down, the crowd rose to their feet as Samurai’s Australian flanker Lala Lam – the squad’s only non-Fijian – raced to touch down near the right corner flag, where he was tackled by compatriot Richard Hooper. Fans waited for the decision, but after deliberation by the touch judge, there was a huge surprise when no try was awarded and a lineout was given. The TV highlights show later confirmed the try should have been awarded, but alas it was not to be.
Soon after, from a scrum near the Penguins 22, England Sevens scrumhalf James Lightfoot-Brown made a blindside break. After racing 50 metres down the touchline, he put through a grubber kick that bounced beyond the posts and teammate Hooper touched it down with 23 seconds left on the clock.
Although Samurai were disappointed to lose, Naiteqe said his players should be proud of an outstanding tournament.
“We did not stick to the game plan in the final two minutes, which ultimately cost us the game. We gave away possession and it turned out sour against us. If the try had been awarded as it should and we maintained possession in the final minute, I believe it could have been another story.”
Nasoni Roko top scored for Samurai with five tries, while Naresia Malimali scored three. Iliesa Keresoni, Iosefo Rakalavo, Kelemedi Bola, Paula Tiko and Pio Tuwai scored twice, while Marika Vunibaka and Hong Kong-based Lex Kaleca touched down once.
The APBs won the second-tier Plate after crushing Scottish Barbarians 41-0. Fijian winger Joe Lilidamu scored four tries to finish as the tournament’s top scorer with 10, four more than compatriot and teammate Filipo Nakosi – Tuwai’s brother – who missed the last two games through injury.
A year after winning the Cup, Umaga vowed the star-studded team would bounce back.
“We’re happy to take the Plate, but hopefully we can take back the main title next year,” said Umaga, who scored 36 tries in 74 tests for New Zealand.
“The standard has definitely improved from last year. We came up against some great defences and people very determined to do well. It’s great for the teams and the tournament and I think it’ll just keep getting better and teams need to be prepared.”
The 2013 GFI HKFC Tens was broadcast live on Now Sports 3 on Wednesday (2.15pm-9.00pm) and Thursday (3.00pm-8.45pm). Now Sports also produced a post-tournament highlights show.
In recent years, the GFI HKFC Tens has attracted rugby legends Joe Roff and Toutai Kefu (both 2006), Jonah Lomu (2007), Brian Lima (2008), Bobby Skinstad (2009), Waisale Serevi (2010), George Gregan and Christian Cullen (2011), Mils Muliaina (2012) and Justin Marshall (2011-2012), winning captain in 2012.
Now in its 28th year, the GFI HKFC Tens is sanctioned by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) and is held on the Wednesday and Thursday before the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens. Hong Kong Football Club has hosted the annual event since it was first staged in 1986 to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary.
Vunibaka, Roko headline Samurai’s all-Fijian charge for GFI HKFC Tens
Squad’s recent internationals include Josua Tuisova, 19, who made his Fiji Sevens debut last month
Hong Kong; March 13, 2013: ULR Samurai International have chosen a powerful all-Fijian squad, including legendary wingers Marika Vunibaka and Nasoni Roko, as they gear up for their seventh attempt to win the GFI HKFC Tens, which will be held at Hong Kong Football Club from March 20-21.
Most of the Samurai players have represented their country in the sevens or 15-a-side format and the Fijian focus represents a change in direction for the invitational team, whose previous squads in Hong Kong have been dominated by New Zealanders.
Sailosi Naiteqe, head coach of Naitasiri province and a Fiji Sevens selector, is in charge of the squad. Samurai founder Terry Sands has put his faith in Naiteqe, two years after the pair organised an all-Fijian team for the Safari Sevens in Nairobi, where Samurai beat Spain and hosts Kenya on the way to reaching the final.
“Sailosi and I have been friends for many years and I’ve invited many Fijians to play for Samurai over the years. Nasoni Roko played for us in the UK for three months as long ago as 2003,” said Sands, a former England Sevens and Saxons manager who will again manage Samurai in Hong Kong.“We’re now in our seventh year competing in Hong Kong, but so far the Cup has eluded us and it’s a title Samurai would love to add to our other sevens and 10s titles around the world.“The standard’s getting higher each year, with player availability also becoming harder, so securing top-level players is more difficult than ever. However, I think we’ve got a great blend of youth and experience this year with our Fijian players.”
Vunibaka, 38, will adopt a player/coach role in Hong Kong, where he’s remembered as the speedster who helped Fiji win the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997 and 2005. The former Crusaders flier remains the top scorer in the Rugby World Cup Sevens, with 23 tries in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 competitions.Roko, 33, was also part of the winning 2005 squad and the dreadlocked star went on to become Fiji’s record try scorer on the HSBC Sevens World Series and remains 10th highest overall with 123 tries since 2002. Roko won his last Hong Kong Sevens title in 2009. Saula Rabaka, also 33, is another famous name and still holds the Sevens World Series record for points scored in a game with 32 against Malaysia in Shanghai in 2001.Experienced lock forward Pio Tuwai will captain the squad and is among a large number of recent internationals.Josua Tuisova, Tuwai’s 19-year-old brother, made his Fiji debut on the Sevens World Series in New Zealand last month and the highly rated centre is set to join North Brisbane in the Queensland Premier League soon after the Tens.
Forward James Brown was still playing on the IRB circuit last year, while Tuwai and scrumhalf Kelemedi Bola have represented Fiji Sevens as recently as 2011.Bola played for the national 15-a-side team against England in front of 80,000 fans at Twickenham last November, while hooker Seremaia Naureure is another member of recent ‘Flying Fijians’ squads.Fullback Iliesa Keresoni, who has also played for Fiji Sevens, made his Test debut in 2008 and was part of the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad in New Zealand, where he played against Wales.
Samurai, Cup finalists in 2010, are seeded third and grouped in Pool C with a Hill and Associates Scottish Barbarians side that will include up to six Scotland Sevens internationals, first-timers Lloyd’s of London and an Irish Vikings side making their 13th straight appearance.Top seeds BGC APB All Stars begin their campaign in Pool A with Tradition YCAC, A-TRADE Overseas Old Boys and Rwanda, who will be coached by former Scotland boss Frank Hadden.Second-seeded Penguins are in Pool B with Tag Heuer Eyewear Pyrenees of France, a Wild Titans side featuring many Germany internationals and hosts Newedge Club, winners of the fourth-tier Shield last year.Pool D features Fijian giants Nadroga and leading Malaysian club Cobra, fourth and fifth seeds respectively and both making their tournament debut. Borrelli Walsh Australian Country Invitational, winners of the second-tier Plate in 2011 and third-tier Bowl last year, and fellow Aussie side Lloyd McDermott Warriors complete the group.
Now in its 28th year, the GFI HKFC Tens is sanctioned by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) and is held on the Wednesday and Thursday before the world-famous Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.Entry is free on the Wednesday, while on the Thursday, spectators aged 17 and over are required to make a HK$100 donation to receive the Official Souvenir Programme, with all proceeds going to Operation Breakthrough, the tournament’s Official Charity. Youngsters from Operation Breakthrough, which focuses on sport as a means to rehabilitate young people, will play in a 10-a-side exhibition match on the Thursday, taking on a visiting ICEF Public Schools side from Los Angeles at 1.35pm, before the semi-finals of the four trophy competitions.Pool games on the Wednesday will be held from 11.00am-9.00pm, while Thursday’s knockout matches run from 10.15am-8.30pm, culminating in the finals of the Shield, Bowl, Plate and Cup competitions.
The event will be broadcast live on Now Sports 3 on Wednesday (2.15pm-9.00pm) and Thursday (3.00pm-8.45pm). Now Sports will also produce a post-tournament highlights show.GFI Group, a leading provider of brokerage services and trading support products, has title sponsored the event since 2006. Other supporters include UBS (Gold Sponsor), Swire Properties and Allied World Assurance Company (both Silver Sponsors), Heineken (Official Beer) and Tsunami Sport (Official Apparel).
In recent years, the GFI HKFC Tens has attracted rugby legends Joe Roff and Toutai Kefu (both 2006), Jonah Lomu (2007), Brian Lima (2008), Bobby Skinstad (2009), Waisale Serevi (2010), George Gregan and Christian Cullen (2011), Mils Muliaina (2012) and Justin Marshall (2011-2012), last year’s winning captain.
Hong Kong Football Club has hosted the annual event since it was first staged in 1986 to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary.
Fijian Flair for Samurai in Hong Kong
ULR Samurai International have chosen a powerful all-Fijian squad – including legendary winger Marika Vunibaka – as they attempt to win the GFI HKFC Tens at the seventh attempt. Most of the squad have represented Fiji at sevens or 15s and the Fijian focus represents a change in direction from previous Samurai Hong Kong 10s selections, where predominantly New Zealanders have been selected.
Sailosi Naiteqe, head coach of Naitasiri and a Fiji 15s selector, is in charge, two years after he and Samurai founder Terry Sands organised an all-Fijian Samurai team for the Safari Sevens in Nairobi, where they beat Spain and hosts Kenya on the way to reaching the final.
“Sailosi and I have been friends for many years and he also runs the Samurai Fiji Barracudas,” said Sands, a former England Sevens and Saxons manager who will again manage Samurai in Hong Kong. “I’ve invited many Fijians to play for Samurai over the years. Naisoni Roko played for Samurai as long ago as 2003 when he came to the UK for a few months to play for us. Watisoni Votu recently signed by English Premiership side Exeter Chiefs also played for Samurai in 2011''
Vunibaka, 38, will adopt a player/coach role in Hong Kong, where he’s remembered as the speedster who helped Fiji win the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997 and 2005. He remains the competition’s top scorer, with 23 tries in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 competitions.
Nasoni Roko, 33, is Fiji’s record try scorer on the HSBC Sevens World Series and 10th highest overall with 123 tries since 2002, last helping them win in Hong Kong in 2009. Saula Rabaka, also 33, still holds the series record for points scored in a game after racking up 32 against Malaysia in the 2001 Shanghai Sevens.
Locks Pio Tuwai and James Brown, scrumhalf Kelemedi Bola and winger David Batiratu have represented Fiji in the Sevens World Series in recent years.
Fullback Iliesa Keresoni, who has also played IRB Sevens, played fullback for Fiji’s XVs in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, while Bola and front-row forwards Vesi Rarawa, Manasa Saulo and Seremaia Naureure are also in the national team.
Head Coach: Sailosi Naiteqe (FIJ)
Assistant coach: Jon Curry (UK)
Manager: Terry Sands (UK)
Assistant Manager: Destry Gourlay (NZL)
Physio: Lorcan McGee (UK)
Samurai wins the R1 million.
Saturday, 15 December 2012
ULR Samurai International RFC wins the R1 million in the 1st inaugural NBM 7s Premier League beating the Cheetahs 27 – 14 in a pulsating final in front of a large crowd.
The inaugural NBM 7s Premier League was deservedly won by Samurai who had played some fantastic 7s over the 2 days, when they beat the Cheetahs in the final. The two defining moments of the day however were when Breyton Paulse did his trademark back flip after scoring a try and when Makhaya Ntini took the field and made two telling tackles for Kaizer Chiefs.
The tournament was a huge success and the atmosphere at Outeniqua Park was electric for every game.
Overall, the standard of Sevens played was top-class and the competition proved a welcome addition to the South African rugby calendar.
The introduction of commercial outfits Kaizer Chiefs, All Stars, Mighty Mohicans, Vikings, Plate winners Living Ball and inaugural champions Samurai added extra spice to the two-day spectacle and the presence of provincial teams and stars like England ace Ben Gollings, Zar Lawrence, Sarel Pretorius, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Derick Minnie and Subura Sithole underscored its credibility as a high calibre, professionally organised tournament.
Willem Strauss and company has successfully identified a previously untapped Sevens market, took the game back to George and delivered a product that has the potential to boost nation-building and strengthen player depth on an annual basis, with the Blitzbokke bound to benefit from the emergence of promising talents such as Samurai hero Justin Geduld.
NBM SEVENS PRESS ARTICLE
Twelve teams will take part in the inaugural NBM 7s PL tournament which starts at Outeniqua Park on Friday. The first match between the NBM All Stars and Boland kicks off at 11:04. The teams are:
Blue Bulls: Shaun Adendorf, Andre Warner, Roelof Smit, Jason Kriel, Jacques Rossouw, Christiaan de Bruin, Cornelius Cooper, Jesse Kriel, Daniel Kriel, Travis Ismaiel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Clayton Blommetjies. Coach: Fielies Coetzee.
Boland Kavaliers: Philip van Zyl, Ben Venter, Ashton Constant, Ntando Kebe, Deston Wellman, Eric Zana, Tythan Adams, Thor Halvorsen, Garth April, Brendon April, Dual Erasmus, Albert Trytsman, Aldi Jacobs, Franzel September. Coach: Abie Davids.
Cheetahs: Ryno Benjamin, Robbie van Schalkwyk, Mamus Schoeman, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Leon Karemaker, Boom Prinsloo, Pieter van Zyl, Sarel Pretorius, Willie le Roux, Barry Geel, Raymond Rhule, Philip Burger, Kevin Luiters, Hansie Graaff, Johann Sadie, Tertius Daniller. Coach: Hawies Fourie.
Kazier Chiefs: Wilhelm Koch, Bom Samaai, Breyton Paulse (capt), Wandile Mjekevu, Jongi Nokwe, Gareth Krause, Junior Bester, Elmo Thomas, Cameron Jacobs, Friedrich Lombard, Adrian Jacobs. Coach: Gcobani Bobo
Lions: Ruan Combrinck, Derick Minnie, Claude Tshibidi, Adndries Coetzee, Robin Coetzee, Whestley Moolman, Mome Laubseher, Ruhan Nel, Jacques Nel, Ross Cronje, Senzo Shabalala. Coach: JP Ferreira
Living Ball: Jonathan Mokuena, Reg Muller, Wendal Wehr, Alshaun Bock, Marius Delport, Dean Heymans, Shaun Davids, Donnovan Marais, Berty Visser, Earl Lewis, Stefan Terblanche, Dirk Dippenaar. Coach: Freddie Grobler
Mighty Mohicans: Justin Peach, Christopher Juries, Julian Erasmus, Richard Prinsloo, Mark Winter, Josh Basingthwaighte, Tiger Bax, Jeandre Blom, NW Smit, Stefan de Villiers, Chris Cloete, Izak Saaiman. Coach: Dawie Snyman
NBM All Stars: Stefen Basson, Ben Gollings, Zar Lawrence, MJ Mentz, JW Jonker, Juan Swanepoel, Danwell Demas, Rosco Specman, Jaco Bouwer, Deon Helberg, Danie Dames, Bok Barnard. Coach: Jimmy Stonehouse
Sharks: Terra Mthembu, Brynard Stander, Subura Sithole, Peet Coetzee, Anton Verster, Gouws Prinsloo, Milo Ngoro, Mzo Mbona, Calvin Kamezos, Gareth Meikle, Sean Robinson, Jaco van Tonder, Sizo Maseko. Coach: Roelof Kotze
Vikings: Jonathan Adendorff, Lean Schwartz, Kempie Rautenbach, Fabian Juries, Mzwandile Stick, Anthony Volmink, Jacques Erasmus, Ruan Mostert, Jody Reynecke, Guy Cronje, Enrico Acker, Shane Spring. Coach: Darryl Weir
Western Province: Ryan Smith, Sibusiso Notshe, Amo Johnson, Craig Pheiffer, Kobus Van Wyk, Clearance Khumalo, Freddie Muller, Tim Swiel, Dean Hammond, Dillyn Leyds, Craig Berry, Chevandre van Schoor. Coach: Jermone Paarwater.
Samurai International: Pieter Engelbrecht, Kwagga Smith, Carel du Preez, Jack Wilson, Jack Welsch, Shannon Rick, Justin Geduld, Werner Kok, Seabelo Senatla, Derich Badenhorst, Henk de Ridder, Sergio Torrens. Coach: Marius Schoeman
SAMURAI INTERNATIONAL HEAD TO DUBAI AND SOUTH AFRICA
The Samurai team face a busy 3 weeks as they jet off to Dubai to take part in the international invitational tournament and then to George in South Africa, to participate in the £100,000 NBM 7s event on 14th/15th December.
With direct cost effective flights from SA to Dubai, the Samurai selection committee decided to look to invite South African based players to play in both events.
With so little time to prepare when bringing players together, Samurai hope to have the same team playing in both tournaments to bring consistency to the team.
The team will be coached by ex Samurai players Marius Schoeman and neil Powell who have now turned their 7s expertise to coaching.
Martin Warburton the Samurai International RFC President will host the team in Dubai and will also travel to South Africa to support the team.
Samurai Dubai Squad
5.Carel du Preez
13.Marius Schoeman - Coach
14.Neil Powell - Coach
SAMURAI CUT DOWN AT CENTRAL COAST 7s
Westfield Barbarians are the new champions of the Fitness First Central Coast Sevens after a comprehensive 41-17 victory over Sunnybank. The Fijians ran riot over the defending champions to claim the $20,000 first prize showing exceptional speed across the park to score several long-range tries.
Samurai International RFC found themselves in the Plate Final after a narrow loss to Fijian side Nabua in the Quarter final. Despite the Samurai’s star studded team which included Orene Ai'i, David Raikuna, Kylem O'Donnell, Belgium Tuatagaloa and Iopu Iopu (New Zealand) Nabua edged them out in a close encounter.
Earlier, in the men's semis Westfield beat fellow Fijians Nabua 19-10 in what turned out to be Westfields toughest game of the tournament. Sunnybank rallied from 0-10 down against Wardens to win their semi final 19-17 with the final kick of the match.
Samurai proved too strong for Australian invitation team Iconz winning the Plate 36-12, with Nafi Tuitavake and Pita Ah-Ki scoring twice.
Australia coach Michael O'Connor was an interested spectator at the event. Results; MEN'S Cup; Westfield Barbarians 41 Sunnybank 17 Plate; Samurai 36 Iconz 12 Boot; (Bowl) Island Breeze 33 Kwaussie 17 Ball; (Shield) No 8 All Stars 52 Sid Vaka 12
SAMURAI FACE TOUGH CHALLENGE
A Fijian invasion of Australia's east coast will take place this weekend at the fourth annual Fitness First Central Coast Sevens in the 16-team event at Wyong Leagues Club, about 90 minutes north of Sydney.
Two weeks after the national team stormed to the winners' podium on the Gold Coast in the IRB WSS, most of the squad return to play for their club Wardens, the current champions of Fiji's Coral Coast Sevens, Westfield Barbarians and Nabua bring extensive amounts of island flair to the Central Coast and will be favoured to challenge for the $20,000 AUD first prize.
Reigning champions Sunnybank, along with West Harbour, Southern Districts and Randwick will fly the flag for the hosts while the Samurai International invitation team are also strong contenders.
Sunnybank (Brisbane) headline Pool A which also features Deadwood, Island Breeze and home team Central Coast. The Sunnybank Dragons defeated the Aussie Thunderbolts 14-12 to win the event a year ago while more recently took out last week's Byron Bay Sevens 48-19 over Iconz.
Wardens, who have current Fiji players Joji Ragamate, Lepani Botia, Ilai Tinai and Alipate Ratini amongst others in their side, should dominate Pool B ahead of Southern Districts, Sid Vaka and Iconz.
Samurai, the UK-based invitation side, face the toughest pool with West Harbour, Associates and Nabua joining them in Pool C.But captained by former IRB Sevens Player of the Year Orene Ai'i and coached by ex-All Blacks Sevens captain Ed Cocker, (pictured back row 3rd from left) the side has a Kiwi roster who will certainly bring enormous experience.
Kylem O'Donnell, Belgium Tuatagaloa and Iopu Iopu all featured in the black jersey in the opening round of the IRB Sevens, while Nafi Tuitavake and David Raikuna are also former New Zealand players. Jon Rudd who has guested for the Samurai team now for almost 12 years is also on the team rosta.
Pool D has a Fijian presence with Nadi’s Westfield Barbarians, who boast current international Samu Saqiwa, Pio Tuwai and Josua Tuisova, playing alongside Randwick, Kwaussie Sport and No 8 All Stars. Tournament Director Craig Morgan says he is thrilled with the field.
"This is our fourth year staging the Fitness First Central Coast Sevens and it is by far the best line up of teams we've had," said Morgan. "Samurai bring a number of internationals and have a global reputation, but they will face the best clubs in Australia and Fiji on Saturday and this could well be a trip to far for the Invitation team. "The beauty of sevens is its unpredictability and reputations can often count for nothing."
The 16 teams face an intensive examination on Saturday, playing five matches in the highlight of the Australian domestic sevens calendar. Only one team from each pool progresses to the Cup semi-finals at 3:30 local time with the Final scheduled for 7:30 pm. The winner receives an invitation to next month's Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.
“We are delighted to have such a great relationship with Fiji and especially the Coral Coast Sevens tournament in Sigatoka," said Morgan. "To have three teams who are regarded as some of, if not the very best of, Fiji is great for the Coast with teams staying in the region for up to a week."
Morgan is also pleased with the quality of the women's draw where twelve teams will line up for the Jobs on the Coast Cup and $5,000 (AUD) first prize.
Sydney, Sunnybank and Hunter headline the women's competition while the local presence is provided by the Central Coast Academy of Sport.
"Women's sevens is exploding in popularity ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and that includes here on the Central Coast," said Morgan. "Local product Cobie-Jane Morgan, a member of the Australian national team, is our Ambassador and we look forward to following her career with interest.
"We are also looking forward to the debut of the Central Coast Academy of Sport team here tomorrow."
The tournament opens tonight with a dinner for the Black Dog Institute featuring Paralympic gold medalist Curtis Palmer as the guest speaker. The wheelchair rugby athlete has competed in four Paralympics for the New Zealand Wheel Blacks and took home gold at Atlanta 1996.
The Fitness First Central Coast Sevens on Saturday 27 October at Wyong Leagues Club kicks off at 9.00am. Further details can be found at www.centralcoastsevens.com.au
SAMURAI 7S PLAYER PATHWAY DELIVERS AGAIN
4 young players that played for the samurai International RFC team at the Nairobi Safari 7s 3 weeks ago, have been selected by Gordon Tietjens for the New Zealand 7s team that will participate in the first leg of the IRB WSS Gold Coast 7s in Australia on the 13th October weekend.
Warwick Lahmert, Sam Dickson, Belgium Tuatagaloa and Gareth Williams-Spears all made Tietjens training camp this week and have subsequently been selected to earn their first All Blacks 7s Caps.
Lahmert who has an English Passport, first played for Samurai in the 2011 UK Super Sevens Series. Lahmert also played in the UK for Birmingham Bees who at the time were being coached by current England 7s coach Russel Earnshaw. Lahmert is pictured 3rd from the left.
The Samurai 7s management team would like to wish the players every success in the upcoming tournament.
SAMURAI OFF ON SAFARI
The ULR International RFC team have received a late invite to participate once again in the Safaricom 7s in Nairobi on 22nd/23rd September.
The Samurai team have been fortunate to secure part sponsorship from Safaricom themselves and coupled with funding from the teams principle sponsor ULR form Norwich, they are able to make the journey to Kenya once again.
Samurai were beaten in last years final by IRB WSS team Samoa in a pulsating final and this year the team will be hoping to go one better and take the spoils in a competition they have never won.
Winning certainly wont be easy that's for sure as South Africa, Spain, Scotland, Portugal and a Mike Friday coached Kenya team, will all stand in their way.
Samurai will once again be Captained by Lote Raikabula who will be joined by Samurai regulars Warwick Lahmert, Mikey Davis and Rocky Khan. Mark Jackman will win his first cap for the team. Several young players have also been selected where as always, Samurai have one eye on player development.
SAMURAI DRIVEN ON BY HILLMAN SPIRIT
The Samurai team that participated in the inaugural Colin Hillman 7s at the South Wales Police ground in Bridgend, was a mixture of young, new, old and experienced in a fitting tribute to Colin Hillman the Samurai's departing coach.
Colin sadly past away on the 2nd July 2009 but not before he was able to play a part in the Wales 7s RWC success.
Teams from all over South Wales entered the tournament in memory of a person that epitomised everything good about a man that always had time for everyone. Nick Wakely and Jon Hooper coached the Samurai side both having played under Colin for Wales 7s.
With almost all of the teams just about to start their 15s season, very few were ready or prepared for a 7s competition but enter and play they did with several talented individual performances on show.
The Samurai team with the young Treharne brothers in excellent form, improved with every game and it was fitting that the Samurai team who had been coached at tournaments all over the world by Colin were being Captained by Humphrey Kayange. A player Colin knew well from the many times that Wales had played Kenya on the IRB WSS.
The Samurai team bonded well as a team and saved their best till last not doubt after a few words of wisdom from Colin himself. In a 10 minute each each way final Samurai beat the the Colin Hillman Select 7 - a team that had been supported by the WRU. By 8 tries to 2 in front of a supportive crowd.
Joe Lydon (WRU) and Richie Pugh (Wales 7s) presented the trophies at a well run event. Let's hope there will be many more Colin Hillman memorial 7s for years to come!
Samurai close, but not close enough.....
Infinity Park, Glendale, Denver, Colorado was a venue that the City could be proud of and one that should be used for Rugby events for many years to come. The organisers did a fantastic job from start to finish with perhaps one exception. referee appointments. With names like Ben Gollings, Emossi Vucago, Waisale Serevi, Ratu Kolinisau and Zar Lawrence all involved in such a prestigious tournament, the correct blend of development referees and experienced referee's is of paramount importance and this was lacking in the heat of Denver.
The ULR Samurai International invitation team assembled together for the first time on Tuesday and immediately found that being a mile above Sea would take some getting used to. Come their last session of Friday the players were at last finding their breath and looked ready to compete. Zar Lawrence earning his second Samurai cap was leading the side which also contained Ed Cocker, Ratu Kolinisau, Will Brock and Rhodri Mcatee all with previous IRB WSS experience.
The Samurai team started well in the one day tournament disposing of US 7s Champions Belmont Shore, OPSB and All American Colleges 7s in the pool stages to win their group and jump straight to the semi final where they would face the US Eagles IRB WSS team. Samurai would start the first semi final against the Eagles with the Serevi Select team facing Belmont Shore immediately after.
It was evident from the first minute that the game would be close, making referee's decisions all the more important for both teams. It was a see saw affair with the Eagles taking a 7-0 lead and then Samurai making it 7-5 through a Ratu Kolinsau try. The Eagles (or Falcons athey are known for domestic comps) then went ahead again after a shocking contact area decision led to a try from Luke Hume, to make it 12-5 and then further ahead after Samurai were penalised at a ruck in a decision that even Eagles Coach Alex Magleby found somewhat surprising! At the half time break it was 17-5 to the Eagles with heads continuing to shake from the samurai coaching team.
Samurai Coach Ed Cocker rallied his men at half time changing their physical approach to a game where they needed to ''keep ball at all costs'' to take referee decisions out of the game and this they did as Will Brock scored on 11 minutes to make it 17-10 to the Eagles. The team knew the restart was crucial and Luke Smart leapt like a Salmon to win the ball only to be penalised for something that was clearly not in the rule books. With the Samurai forwards looking for a reason the ball the was taken quickly and spread wide by Hume to Rokko Mauer who sped to the line for a crucial score to make it 22-10 Hume used all his guile to take an absolute age with a missed conversion attempt to take the Eagles to a 22-10 lead.
From the restart Samurai won a very rare penalty and Jack Walsh took it quickly and sped to the line to make the score 22-17. the Samurai coaches looked again at their stop watches knowing they had time to take the game at least to extra time, only to then hear the referee's whistle go for full time!
The Samurai Rugbytown 7s experience had ended somewhat prematurely in a number of ways, to a USA Eagles team that went on to demolish the Serevi Select team 33-0 in the final at Rugby Park however, the people of Glendale, the City and the Venue itself made the long player and management journies worthwhile.
SAMURAI OFF TO SEREVI RUGBYTOWN 7s
Samurai International RFC have received a late invitation to attend the Serevi Rugbytown 7s in Glendale, Denver, Colorado.
Rugby in Colorado took off in 2007 with the opening of Infinity Park in Glendale. Infinity Park has hosted Rugby Colorado programs, USA Rugby National Championship Series and dozens of national and international rugby tournaments including the Churchill Cup, an alliance between England’s Rugby Football Union, Rugby Canada and USA Rugby.
Samurai International RFC will complete the eight-team lineup for the Serevi RugbyTown Sevens tournament to be held at Infinity Park in Glendale on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Competing along with Samurai for the $10,000 winner-take-all prize will be the USA Eagles, Tiger Rugby, the USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans, the Chicago Lions, Old Puget Sound Beach, Glendale RFC and the favourites to take the trophy - the star studded 'Serevi Selects' that amongst others will include Ben Gollings and Emossi Vucago.
Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon expressed his delight at the announcement by saying, “Having the caliber of players such as that of Samurai International’s here at Infinity Park for the Serevi RugbyTown Sevens is sure to add a new competitive edge to the overall event.”
Dunafon continued by adding, “We look forward to all the teams participating and can assure all rugby fans that this will be a tournament not to be missed.”
The Serevi Rugbytown 7s was a tournament that Samurai International had never expected let alone budgeted for. The Samurai principal sponsor ULR from Norwich has assisted once again to help fund the trip together with additional individual player sponsorship from JAS Freight, Orbana Health Drinks, Swain Summit Ltd, Allport forwarding and Gap Corp. Further assistance is being sort but without these sponsors Samurai International would be unable to give their players this opportunity.
Players selected so far are Will Brock, Rhodri MaCatee, Jack Walsh, Liam Draycott and Ed Telwright. Playing Chairman Terry Sands will manage the team.
SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR…
The 2012 Super Sevens Series ended on Saturday at the 4th leg of the series in the beautiful setting of Caldy Rugby Club on the Wirral. In 2010 and 2011 the ULR Samurai Barracudas took the title but it was a new name on the trophy for 2012 as the Templars 7 did just enough, at Caldy.
Barracuda’s surprising and uncharacteristic loss in the quarter final at the 2nd leg of the series in Worthing, proved to be the difference between the 2 sides. Barracudas needed Templars to go out at the same stage in Caldy and with Templars finishing 2nd in their pool the unlikely looked possible. Templars were to face the HFW Wailers in their quarter final on pitch 2 with the Barracudas facing a much improved Burrda Ronin team on the main pitch.
HFW Wailers along with our old friends the Marauders have had disjointed seasons during 2012 but both teams hoped to go out on a high at Caldy. The Marauders were pipped to 3rd place in their pool by Caldy and so just missed the knockout stages, but the HFW Wailers had topped their pool. The Barracudas disposed of a very spirited Ronin side in their quarter final and so it was all eyes on the Wailers. Despite a gallant comeback by the Wailers, Templars did just enough to gain the result they needed to take the 2012 Super Sevens Series title.
In the other quarter finals North Wales exiles disposed of the Apache 7s who have had their best ever season, while Caldy stunned the Russell Earnshaw and Richard Hodges coached British Students, in front of their home crowd.
The first semi-final now pitched North Wales Exiles against the surprise team of the tournament Caldy, who had assembled a very useful side. The game was virtually a local derby and it was certainly played as such. The Exiles were stunned by the pace and power of Caldy as the home side edged it by 12 points to 10.
Next up was the Barracudas to take on the now series winners Templars. The crowd could have forgiven Templars for fielding their fringe players as the Super Sevens series title was now theirs, but it was not to be as there was much needed prize money to be won. Templars to their credit came at the Barracudas with all guns blazing not only for the prize money, but also to be able to take the head to head spoils as the 2 teams were now facing each other for the 3rd time in the series.
Templars scored first to take a 7 point lead after 2 minutes but then the Barracudas found their feet after Simon Hunt scored the first of his hat trick of tries. The final score line ended 31 points to 7 to the Barracudas with further tries from Jamie Broadley and Michael Fedo. Peter Jerevich added to the Barracudas tally with 3 conversions. The final pitched home side Caldy against the ULR Samurai Barracudas, who were odds on in the betting stakes to carry out a demolition job on Caldy.
The Barracudas were perhaps guilty of thinking the game was going to be easy against a Caldy side that they had disposed of in their first pool game by 41 points to 5 but, it was not to be. Caldy stunned the Barracudas with an early try by JJ Dickinson and the crowd roared with delight as they got behind their side as they took a 7 points to nil lead. Andy Vilk then levelled it for Barracudas and the game became an exciting end to end affair. Caldy took the lead again to make it 14 - 7 and then Barracudas scored in the corner thanks to Simon Hunt but the conversion was missed and the favourites were now behind.
The home supporters were making themselves heard which spurred Caldy on as they believed an upset was in sight and with a minute left on the clock they held a slender 34 – 32 lead.
Barracudas Captain Mark Bright led from the front as he had done in all 3 previous legs of the Series. A smart pass by Fraser Harkness enabled Bright to power his way forwards brushing of 3 tackles on the way before being bought down. A one handed off load to Fedo was moved onwards to Simon Hunt, who silenced the crowd with a well taken try. Jerevich converted to make the score 39 – 34 to the Barracudas with the final whistle being blown 30 seconds later.
The Caldy team had fought to the last just missing out to an experienced Barracudas side and the home crowd showed their support with loud applause as they left the field.
As for the ULR Samurai Barracudas team, it was a well deserved victory in the 4th leg at Caldy to add to the victory at Bury St Edmunds and a runners up spot in Caerphilly but despite beating Templars twice in the series, it was rightly the most consistent team that deservedly took the Super Sevens Series title, by the smallest of margins.
Samurai Regain Silver Pier at Amsterdam 7s
The ULR International RFC team regained the coveted Silver Pier Trophy last weekend (20th May 2012) at the Amsterdam 7s tournament in the National Stadium, Guezenveld, Holland. Despite a scare in what was effectively the quarter final against Templar 7 where Samurai scraped through 24 - 19, they put is some excellent performances over the weekend.
Mark Bright led his team well throughout and in doing so helped the team to a record total pool scorings on day 1 of 244 points for and 5 against. The team would have certainly preferred to have tougher fixtures on the Saturday if for no other reason than to test their defence.
The IRB's current world record points scorer Ben Gollings donned the Samurai shirt once again and despite not playing Sevens for almost 12 months, ochestrated proceedings as though he had never been away. Gollings had 2 roles to play over the weekend and as well as running the Samurai games from fly half he was also mentoring young Welsh player Will Thomas, who at only 18 years old is destined for great things in the coming seasons.
Kenya's WSS Captain Humphrey Kayange and Portugal's talented Scrum Half Pedro Leal were also once again wearing the Samurai shirt as indeed was John Rudd and Will Brock with these 7s regulars blending fantastically well with the rest of the Samurai players.
Samurai faced the 7s specialists and last years winners HFW Wailers in the semi final. For the second year running and at the same stage in the competition the 2 teams met but on this occasion, the Samurai team were victorious running out winners by 33 points to 19.
Amsterdam 7s regulars Suzies Saloon who are always one of the top 6 teams at the Amsterdam 7s were the Samurai opponents in the final. It was a fired up Samurai team that took to the field and they found themselves on the score board with only a minute gone, as Will Thomas showed some great footwork to score. The Samurai forwards starved Suzies of possession despite the attempts of Angus Martin at every breakdown. You cant score without the ball as the saying goes and that was the story of the day as Samurai went on to regain the Silver Pier with a 45 - 21 victory over a very competitive Suzies Saloon team. ULR Samurai International Team
Mark Bright (Capt) Ben Gollings, Humphrey Kayange, Will Brock, Pedro Leal, Will Thomas, Jack Walsh, Mike Canty, John Rudd, Luke Smart, Ed Telwright, Brad Linklater,
Coaches Mike Friday & Tim Walsh, Manager John Elliott, Physio Lorcan McGee.
Barracudas take first leg of Super Sevens Series
The ULR Samurai Barracudas won the 1st leg of the UK domestic Super 7s Series on Sunday with a convincing 45 - 14 win against Templar 7.
The Samurai team coached by former Australian 7s international Tim Walsh and Captained by Mark Bright of Tasman Mako's put in a businesslike performance in the final. Templars had faced a tough semi final against Northampton Saints who scored 2 tries through Noah Cato but Templars Matt Hodson scored a well taken try a minute from the end, to take them through to face the Barracudas.
The Barracudas had not had it all their own way despite coming from their pool unbeaten. Apache gave them a real scare as they went 2 tries up to lead 14 - 5 at half time in the first quarter final of the day. Barracudas held their nerve fighting back with 3 second half tries from Andy Vilk, Luke Smart and Ed Telwright to add to John Rudd's first half effort.
The Semi final also ended up as a close affair despite Samurai scoring 3 first half tries against their old foe's HFW Wailers. The Wailers team coming back in the second half with 2 with tries from Hamish Smales and Ollie Marchom with Samurai running out winners 19 - 14 to make it to the final of the Bury Premier Sevens tournament.
The next stop for Samurai is the Amsterdam 7s on the 19th/20th May.
ULR Samurai Barracudas Team.
Mark Bright (Capt) Luke Smart, Will Brock, John Carter, Andy Vilk, Jack Walsh, Will Thomas, John Rudd, Mike Canty, Ed Telwright & Tim Walsh (Player/Coach)
Welcome Back Walsh
One of Samurai Internationals most capped players will use his vast 7s knowledge as a coach for the Samurai Barracudas team in the Super Sevens Series.
Tim Walsh who joined Petrarca Padova after signing from the Queensland Reds in Super14s rugby 2 years ago, will coach the team at the ULR Premier 7s in the UK domestic Series.
The Super Sevens Series is a UK domestic 7s series that will take place over 4 legs throughout the UK starting at Bury St Edmunds RUFC on 6th May, followed by Worthing on 26th May, Cardiff on 9th June and the final leg - where the Series will be decided, being played at Caldy on 23rd June. The Super Sevens Series is now in it's 2nd year and is bigger and better than ever, with 12 specialist Sevens teams taking part in the 4 leg Series that stages each event at a grass roots club throughout the UK.
Tim Walsh a seasoned Australia 7s player who has also Captained the side, has been a committed Samurai stalwart for many years. Walsh last played for Australia in the Edinburgh and Twickenham legs of the IRB World Sevens Series in 2010.
Samurai also welcome back Dominic Shaboo and Andrew Vilk for the 1st leg of the SSS both players having previously played for England 7s. Vilk also played for Samurai in last July's excellent victory in the Middlesex 7s at Twickenham. The Samurai Barracudas Bury St Edmunds team will be a mixture of youth and experience, but have the management team got the mix right? for what promises to be a very competitive tournament. Only time will tell.........
Nadolo stars as BGC APBs edge Legends to win GFI HKFC Tens
Nemani Nadolo (who had previously played for Samurai International at the 2011 Amsterdam 7s) powered the star-studded BGC APBs to victory at the GFI HKFC Tens as the giant Fijian winger scored two first-half tries in a gripping 10-7 win over New Zealand Legends in the Cup final.
Legends battled back with a try early in the second half by Dan Tuivabi, converted by outstanding flyhalf Trent Renata, but the APBs showed the character to match their class to hold out for a much-celebrated win at Hong Kong Football Club.
Standing 1.95 metres tall and weighing 123 kilogrammes, Nadolo wowed the crowd on day one and carried on in a similar vein in the knockout stages, finishing as the Player of the Tournament and top try scorer with 11 tries.
APBs captain Justin Marshall paid tribute to the star winger. “He’s sensational. Marshall was one of a host of APBs who returned from last year, when they reached the final in their tournament debut but lost 28-24 to Valley.
New Zealand’s most-capped scrumhalf admitted that last years final defeat provided much motivation for the star-studded squad, which was coached by former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga and featured current and former internationals from New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Japan and USA.
“Last year it was just an amazing tournament. We performed really well but we felt we were beaten by a better side on the day. That was disappointing and we made sure we made reference to that this year,” said Marshall, whose teammates included fellow All Black legend Mils Muliaina.
“To be honest, for all the superstars we have in the team and unique individuals, it was teamwork in defence that probably won us the game, which goes to show we had that belief and also that motivation from last year. We wanted to right the wrongs.”
Legends, also runners-up in 2009, upset second seeds HSBC Penguins 19-0 in the semi-final and came close to pulling off another surprise win in the final, with head coach Brendan Laney praising his young Kiwi compatriots – and Nadolo.
The APBs reached the final with a 24-5 win over 2010 runners-up ULR Samurai International, who lost flanker Jack Wilson to the New Zealand sevens squad and Chiefs A winger Glen Robertson with a thumb injury on the first day. To cause further problems they then lost scrum half Lewis Hancock to injury prior to theior semi final game.
Samurai coach Blair Larsen said losing Jack and Glen on day one did not help their cause but suggested his stripped down squad were beaten by the better team on the day.
“The APBs had a lot of players out there who are heroes to a lot of our boys. We lost Glen and Jack, who were two of our key players, and we had some key injuries at a pretty important time, but injuries are part of the game and the team we played out there were just too good,” Larsen said.
“They’ve got players with a lot of experience of the highest stage. Some of them are getting to the end of their career, but they still know how to play. They’ve got some size and some good attackers as well. I’m sure we’ll be back again next year and every time Samurai play, we play to win.”
Third seeds SRC Borneo Eagles, representing the Sandakan Rugby Club in East Malaysia, won the Plate after beating beat Hill and Associates Scottish Barbarians 26-7, with speedster Ritchie Ah Chong scoring two tries.
BGC APBs, HSBC Penguins on course for GFI HKFC Tens showdown
Giant Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo of favourites BGC APBs and former New Zealand sevens star Nafi Tuitavake of second seeds HSBC Penguins stood out on the first day of the GFI HKFC Tens as the top eight seeds progressed to the Cup quarter-finals.
The APBs, Penguins, fourth-ranked ULR Samurai International and sixth-seeded New Zealand Legends - all former finalists - each won their three pool games at Hong Kong Football Club, where all of the leading contenders are aiming to win the trophy for the first time.
The Bowl quarter-finals kick off at 10.40am on Thursday before the Cup quarters commence at 12.20pm, with the four losing teams entering the Plate semis.
With Rugby World Cup winner Mils Muliaina in their ranks, the star-studded APBs left it late before winning their Pool A decider 7-0 against an impressive Hill and Associates Scottish Barbarians side featuring four Scotland sevens internationals.
The game was scoreless with two minutes left when the 1.95-metre Nadolo powered down the left flank and slipped the ball inside to flyhalf Stephen Brett before Samoa centre Seilala Mapusua touched down to set up a quarter-final clash with International Panthers, runners-up to Penguins in Pool B.
Tana Umaga, head coach of the BGC APBs, paid tribute to his team and his star player, who are seeking to go one better than last year, when the side lost in the final on their tournament debut.
"We got there in the end, but that's the talent we have. All credit to the Scottish, they really took it to us. They played the corners, put in a driving maul, then a ruck, kick and go, and that's not our strength. It was really just a set-piece kind of game," said Umaga, the former New Zealand captain who won 74 caps for the All Blacks.
"Nadolo's break was the defining moment for us. That's why we've got him in there. We give him the ball and hope something happens.
"I first saw him here in Hong Kong for our first runaround and he came and stood with the backs. I said: 'What are you doing, mate? The forwards are over there.' Then everyone laughed at me and told me he was a winger! He has so much power and pace."
Penguins racked up 57-0 wins over both China Agricultural University (CAU) of Beijing and the HKRFU Chairman's X before running out 69-0 winners over a Panthers side featuring former All Black winger Caleb Ralph. Penguins will face the Scottish Barbarians in the last eight.
Tuitavake scored six tries to top the scoring stakes after day one and the winger said Penguins were determined to finally win in Hong Kong after reaching the final in their two first appearances in 2007 and 2008.
"I wasn't expecting our scores to be so big, but we played well and obviously a lot of our boys know each other well from NZ," said Tuitavake, whose elder brother Anthony was set to play for the APBs but had to withdraw through injury.
"We were very surprised at the APBs because we expected them to be ahead of Scottish when we arrived at the pitch, but it was scoreless until that big winger (Nadolo) came running down the side. If Scottish can give them a game, other teams can as well. It's my first time in Hong Kong with Penguins and we've come to win. "
New Zealand Legends, Cup finalists in 2009, upset third seeds SRC Borneo Eagles 12-0 in the Pool C decider, and will take on Tag Heuer Pyrenees of France.
Samurai, finalists two years ago, beat Pyrenees 17-0 to top Pool D and will have a tough encounter against Borneo in the Cup quarter-finals.
Samurai are also eager to triumph in Hong Kong and add to last year's wins in the UK National Sevens Series, November's Paradise Sevens in Australia and December's Dubai Sevens.
Team hit by late changes for Hong Kong 10s
The ULR Samurai International Team that was selected for this week’s Hong Kong 10s (21st/22nd March) at the Hong Kong Football Club, have been dealt several late blows with player unavailability.
James McGougan, Irwin Finau, Shane Christie, Robbie Malneek, Cameron Goodhue,Jono Malo and Joe Webber have all had to call off this week due either to injury or club call ups.
Jack Wilson may also be missing, as he was called up to the NZ7s training camp yesterday (16th) pending a late fitness test on one of Gordon Tietjens Hong Kong 7s squad members.
The Samurai management and coaches are currently working on quality replacements to ensure they maintain the competitive quality the Samuraiteam are renowned for.
Damian Bailey from the Hong Kong Cricket Club in Hong Kong has also been selected to win his first Samurai cap.
Penguins star Nafi Tuitavake wary of big brother at GFI HKFC Tens
Nafi Tuitavake has been included in a strong HSBC Penguins squad for next week’s GFI HKFC Tens in Hong Kong, where he could come up against his elder brother Anthony, the tough-tackling former All Black. The 16-team tournament will be held at Hong Kong Football Club from March 21-22.
The younger Tuitavake, a four-year New Zealand sevens player who scored his first international try at Hong Kong Stadium in 2007, captained Penguins to victory in the 2010 SCC Sevens in Singapore and will star for the second seeds at Sports Road.
North Harbour head coach Liam Barry, a one-cap All Black, is in charge of a Kiwi-dominated squad of players who, following hooker Paul Ngauamo’s withdrawal, are all playing for Penguins in Hong Kong for the first time.
Forwards include flankers Matt Vant Leven and the giant Mat Luamanu, who played Super Rugby for the Chiefs and Blues respectively last year.
Scrumhalf Chad Tuoro and winger Leka Tupuola have played sevens for New Zealand, while other key players include flyhalf Willie Walker, the former New Zealand Maori who played in the English Premiership, and South African Frank Wagenstroom who played wing for Sharks and Cheetahs.
Despite the strong support, the 23-year-old Nafi will be wary of his big brother, who’ll play for Tana Umaga’s top-seeded BGC Asia Pacific Barbarians along with World Cup winner Mils Muliaina and Justin Marshall. Both Tuitavakes play centre or wing and could go face to face in the final, if not earlier. “I’d be excited to play against him, but I don’t want to get hit by him. He’s a really good defender, knows how to put a good shoulder in and makes some big hits. He’s also very fast. I’d need to put brotherly love aside for the match and just give it my best,” said Nafi, who has been in good form the Chiefs Development team this year.
“We’ve never played against each other in competition, but I guess the most competitive level was in training for North Harbour. It was the academy guys against the first team and it was live, you had to prove yourself. We went up against each other a couple of times.” Nafi admits he’d rather play with Anthony than against him and retains good memories of teaming up for North Harbour’s first team in the ITM Cup, New Zealand’s top domestic competition. “We played a lot together during my first season in the first team and it was an awesome experience,” said Nafi, who helped New Zealand’s U-20 side win the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship in Japan. “Sometimes he’d play second five (inside centre) and I’d play outside centre, or he’d play outside centre and I’d play wing.”
Anthony, now 30, won win six caps for the All Blacks in 2008 and played Super Rugby for Highlanders and Blues before his move to NEC Green Rockets in Japan, where he plays today.Nafi is now looking to trump his brother in Hong Kong and continue his winning record for Penguins, having also helped the side retain the COBRA 10s in Kuala Lumpur last November when he played as a guest in the final. “I’ve only played Tens once, at the COBRA 10s, and it’s a completely different game from sevens – you get shut down really quickly. It’s not as free flowing,” Nafi said. “However, I think Penguins have a good squad for Hong Kong. I’m friends with Mat Luamanu because we play ITM Cup for North Harbour and also Ray Niuia, who’s in the North Harbour development squad. I know Willie Walker because when I was young he was playing with my brother at North Harbour.” The speedster is also looking forward to returning to Hong Kong, the scene of his greatest career memory after New Zealand sevens coach Gordon ‘Titch’ Tietjens selected an opportune moment to unleash the then 18-year-old. “The first time I put on the New Zealand jersey was in 2007, in Hong Kong, and I scored with my first touch,” Nafi says. “We were playing against Chinese Taipei and ‘Titch’ put me on the final minute. Victor Vitu passed me the ball and I managed to get away and ran about 50 or 60 metres for the try.”#
The BGC Asia Pacific Barbarians will kick off the GFI HKFC Tens at 11.00am on March 21 with a Pool A match against Playmore’s Shanghai Devils, which will be followed by Hill and Associates Scottish Barbarians taking on Irish Vikings.
HSBC Penguins, finalists in 2007 and 2008, will play in Pool B against International Panthers from Australia, HKRFU Chairman’s X and China Agricultural University.
Third-ranked Borneo Eagles from the Sandakan Rugby Club in Sabah, East Malaysia, will play in Pool C with 2009 runners-up New Zealand Legends, Lloyd McDermott Dingoes of Australia and hosts Newedge Club.
ULR Samurai International, runners-up in 2010 and top seeds last year, are seeded fourth and play in Pool D with Tag Heuer Eyewear Pyrenees of France, Australian Country Invitational and A-Trade Overseas Old Boys.
Pool A: BGC Asia Pacific Barbarians (1), Hill & Associates Scottish Barbarians (8), Irish Vikings (12), Playmore’s Shanghai Devils (16)
Pool B: HSBC Penguins (2), International Panthers (7), HKRFU Chairman’s X (11), China Agricultural University (15)
Pool C: SRC Borneo Eagles (3), New Zealand Legends (6), Lloyd McDermott Dingoes (10), Newedge Club (14)
Pool D: ULR Samurai International (4), Tag Heuer Eyewear Pyrenees (5), Australian Country Invitational (9), A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (13)
Sevens player gains national honours
On the back of winning the National Sevens and the Gold Coast Sevens with Samurai International RFC, Lolagi Visinia from Auckland has been named in Gordon Tietjens' 15-man squad in the lead up to the Hong Kong Sevens.The 20-year-old said his inclusion in the squad was ''a dream come true'' for him.
Visinia's promotion to national honours was only a matter of time. The 19-year-old has had a stellar few months in the seven-a-side code and was instrumental in Auckland winning the national title and Samurai, the Gold Coast title. Still at school last year, Visinia was an integral player for Kelston Boys High School in their victory at the national Condor Sevens.
Samurai International teams continue to show that the team has a fantastic role to play for player development, providing a valuable stage for players to show their skills and ability.
Barracudas in to Win ?
The Samurai Fiji Barracudas will once again take part in the Uprising 7s International 7s at the weekend.The team will face a very big task with New Zealand, France, Fiji and Australia all entering International teams at the event.
The Samurai Barracudas team is as follows:
1. Pio Tuwai (capt)
2. Filimone Seru
3. Lekima Tuidraki
4. Selema Bainivalu
5. Rafaele Tokona
6. Lemeki Duidomo
7. Samuela Raileqe
8. Kaminieli Turagalada
9. Nasoni Roko
10. Filipo Nakosi
11. Tu Seru Cavuilati
12. Josevata Bola
Manager : Peni Muakalou
Coach : Sailosi Naiteqe Snr
SAMURAI PATHWAY WALKS THE WALK ONCE AGAIN
2 more names have been added to the long Samurai list of players that have gained Samurai caps and then moved forwards to play for their respective countries. Kylem O'Donnell who first played for Samurai International RFC in March 2011 and then again in November, was selected by Gordon Tietjens for the New Zealand 7s team to take part in the South Africa leg of the World Sevens Series last weekend. Junior Rasolea made it 2 Samurai players in as many weeks to gain International honours as Michael O'Connor selected Junior for the Australia 7s team to take part in the WSS Gold Coast, Dubai and South Africa legs. Rasolea also played for Samurai in November.The Samurai management team's eye for talent continues to work, as year on year they unearth new players that then catch the eye of their countries selectors.
Congratulations Kylem and Junior we wish you great success..........
Samurai squeeze Win at Dubai 7s 2011
It was a little too close for comfort at times – but Samurai eventually came out as winners of the 2011 Dubai International Invitational Tournament.
It has certainly been a succesful few weeks for the ULR Samurai International RFC team with a runners up spot at the Nairobi Safari 7s a win at the Gold Coast 7s last weekend and now a win at the coveted Dubai 7s.
Samurai went into the weekend with a young and untested team of South African provincial players, coached by Marius Schoeman and led on the field by experienced duo MJ Mentz and Neil Powell. This was their first outing as a team and expectations were high, but also with a little bit of trepidation as they had no warm up tournaments prior to the Dubai showpiece. During the week leading up to the tournament the Samurai team had trained alongside the Springbok 7s team and had had a run out against the Jumeirah English Speaking School watched by the whole school.
There was also no easing their way into the tournament as first up on Friday morning was an opening round pool fixture against old foes HFW Wailers. Wailers drawing on their core of Newcastle Falcons players and with a few England Sevens players also in the squad fancied their chances of upsetting Samurai as they had in the semi finals in Amsterdam earlier on in the year. The game got off to an intense start with defences on top – Samurai testing the Wailers defence out wide and vice versa. First score went to the Samurai as a breakaway try saw Cornell Hendricks score under the posts – Samurai did not see further possession in the first%