WRU Head of Sevens Richie Pugh has named the Wales Sevens men’s and women’s squads for this weekend’s RWC qualifying tournament in Bucharest.
For the men, the Commonwealth Games squad, announced yesterday will compete this weekend in its entirety, while women’s head coach Nick Wakley has brought Chelsea Williams, Leanne Burnell, Ffion Owen and Nia Grundy into the squad that competed at the recent Rugby Europe tournaments.
In both tournaments, which will be streamed live on rugbyeurope.tv, the top four sides will book their tickets for September’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa.
The men kick off against host nation Romania at 10.52am UK time on Saturday and also face Georgia and Germany in their Pool, while the women face Ireland at 9.50 UK time on Saturday followed by Czechia and Germany.
The top two teams from each Pool, plus the two best third-placed teams go through to a one-off qualification decider on Day 2.
Pugh said, “Having been part of a successful Welsh team at Rugby World Cup Sevens, it means a lot for us to get to Cape Town in September.
“It certainly isn’t going to be an easy task. To play Romania on their home turf in 37 degree heat will be a huge challenge but we are well-prepared and focussing on one match at a time with the aim of getting to that qualification match on Day 2. To have the carrot of reaching the World Cup is huge. At the same time, this level of competition will also be ideal preparation for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
“As far as the women are concerned, they are in a slightly different situation. They are a very young squad and haven’t been together long but they are learning so much with every day and every challenge they face.
“They have shown glimpses of huge potential, such as leading France at half-time in Krakow, and if they can put 14 minute performances together they can cause some upsets which is exciting.”
Lowri Norkett added, “It means so much for me to put on a Wales Sevens jersey. My sister Elli had some of her best experiences in sevens jerseys and it’s lovely to be able to follow in her footsteps in the Wales Sevens set-up.”
“We have gained invaluable experience over the last month or so, it’s been an amazing opportunity for us all, especially for a lot of the players who are so young but have so much to gain at the start of their careers. We know what to expect with our Pool opponents this weekend, we are determined to keep making progress with every match and hopefully gain some results.”
Wales international Tyler Morgan, who had his first experience of international sevens on the World Series recently is enjoying the opportunity. He added “Richie Pugh has given me this chance to get involved with the squad and I’m loving it. We’ve had a good few weeks of prep and while we respect all the opposition, we are raring to go.”
Wales Sevens squad RWC qualifier (men):
Luke Treharne (Wales Sevens)
Tyler Morgan (Unattached)
Morgan Sieniawski (Wales Sevens)
Sam Cross (Ospreys)
Tom Brown (Wales Sevens )
Callum Williams (Scarlets)
Owen Jenkins (Unattached)
Tom Williams (Wales Sevens)
Morgan Williams (Wales Sevens)
Cole Swannack (Newport)
Lloyd Lewis (Wales Sevens)
Ewan Rosser (Dragons)
Callum Carson (Aberavon)
Wales Sevens squad RWC qualifier (women):
Leanne Burnell (Pontyclun Falcons)
Meg Davies (Bristol Bears)
Abbie Fleming (Exeter Chiefs)
Nia Grundy (Bath)
Emma Hennessy (Cheltenham Tigers)
Nel Metcalfe (Ceirw Nant)
Ellie Morgan (co-captain, Cardiff University)
Lowri Norkett (Pontyclun Falcons)
Anwen Owen (Nelson)
Ffion Owen (Pontyclun Falcons)
Hannah Powell (Deri Diamonds)
Seren Singleton (Cardiff Met)
Chelsea Williams (Nelson)