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Head coach Paul John today named a 12-man squad consisting of 11 players that reached the Cup quarter-finals of the Wellington Sevens 10 days ago, and have added the experienced Sevens forward Richie Pugh to the group.
Neath back row man Lee Beach will captain the side that will face Argentina, Zimbabwe and Uruguay in the Pool stages of the biggest global tournament of the year.
Tal Selley, Richie Pugh and Aled Brew have all won full Wales caps, while last season’s Wales Under 20 scrum half Rhys Webb is the youngest in the squad. Webb made his Wales Sevens debut at the recent IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Wellington.
John said, “We performed well as a squad in Wellington, with wins over New Zealand and Fiji. We have kept the same squad together for the Rugby World Cup Sevens which we believe is our strongest available squad, and Richie Pugh brings added knowledge and experience to the group which benefits from a number of seasoned Sevens players in Tal Selley, Aled Brew, Lee Beach, Aled Thomas, Rhodri McAtee, Dafydd Hewitt, Lee Williams and James Merriman. The key for us is to keep a consistency in our performances if we are to get the results we know we are capable of.
“We play Zimbabwe on Day One, with Uruguay and Argentina on Day Two so the fact that the Pool games are spread over two days will certainly help our preparation.
“Our aim is to reach the Cup quarter-finals and if we do that, anything can happen.”
WRU Head of Rugby Performance and Development Joe Lydon added, “Sevens is a vital tool of our player development pathway, with current Wales internationals James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Andy Powell and Martin Roberts only a few of those whose rugby careers have clearly benefitted from the international Sevens.
“Participating in a Rugby World Cup tournament will certainly go down as one of the highlights of these players’ careers and our recent successes at the New Zealand Sevens prove that we are capable of being competitive at this tournament.
“We are grateful for the support of our clubs and regions for this four-yearly global competition.”
Wales Sevens squad for RWC Sevens, Dubai, March 5,6,7:
Lee Beach (capt, Neath), Rhodri McAtee (Cornish Pirates), Lee Williams (Scarlets), Tom Isaacs (Newport), Aled Thomas (London Welsh), James Merriman (unattached), Tal Selley (Dragons), Aled Brew (Dragons), Craig Hill (Newport), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Richie Pugh (Exeter Chiefs), Dafydd Hewitt (Blues)
Head coach: Paul John
Assistant coach: Gareth Williams
Team manager: David Jenkins
Physiotherapist: Ben Searle
Analyst: Mark Kinaird