Monday, February 22, 2010

UR7s - 'Best of Wellington/Las Vegas VII'

With USA Sevens completed, and the Walker Sports staff finally recovered from an epic trip out west, we are finally recapping the weekend that was. Thanks to our friends over at we have our all Wellington/Las Vegas sevens team. Thanks to two great showings by the United States, there are a few familiar faces on this list.

After each back-to-back legs on the 2009/10 IRB Sevens World Series, Robin Heymann will be picking a side from the players he feels have delivered the most over the two tournaments.

Many players have put their hands up in Wellington (NZI Sevens) and Las Vegas (USA Sevens) but here are the UR7s choices. Agree or disagree we want to hear your thoughts so please leave some comments. Who did we miss out? Who have you enjoyed watching so far this season? Let's hear your views Sevens fans...

Best of Wellington & Vegas VII

1. DJ Forbes (New Zealand) - The New Zealand captain was disappointed with himself after missing some very uncharacteristic tackles that proved costly in Wellington. But what a response in Vegas. Inspirational throughout making tackles, stealing ball, and showing remarkable athleticism.

2. Alafoti Fa'osiliva (Samoa) – Has performed at a remarkable level all season and to be fair was pretty unlucky not to make the Dubai/George VII. He provides the best of both worlds; works furiously at the breakdown but also running and finishing skills to cross the whitewash. A brilliant two tournaments.

3. Seremaia Burotu (Fiji) – Perhaps the advantage the Fijian forwards have over the likes of Forbes is that they are just as powerful but also possess the speed to make significant breaks. Burotu makes telling contributions time after time and like Fa'osiliva is a regular scorer.

4. Uale Mai (Samoa) – How relieved must Samoa be that he couldn’t secure a work visa to English club Cornish Pirates?! With little Sevens under his belt he has stormed back into IRB Sevens steering the Samoan ship with sublime vision and creativity in New Zealand and USA. His intelligence around the park is what marks him out from others, as well as an ability to turn it on for the very biggest games.

5. Nese Malifa (USA) – An unsung hero who won’t often be seen playing in massive Cup games like the rest in this side. Nonetheless his contribution to the USA is vital. A creative spark with wonderful feet who slots his goals too. In a team of bruisers and power players he is a key man for Al Caravelli and has had a good couple of weeks.

6. Kimami Sitauti (Australia) – This 18-year-old looks like a cracking find by Michael O’Connor and his backroom staff. Didn’t play before Christmas but shown himself to be a revelation with slashing breaks and ruthless finishing. How will he cope now other teams are aware of him?

7. Mikaele Pesamino (Samoa) – Probably the most obvious choice – an incredible 18 tries over the two tournaments says it all really. He’s lightening. Wonderful athlete with a Tom Varndell-esque model sprinter’s technique. Proved to be a real nuisance for New Zealand who he intercepted three times over the last two legs.


Cecil Afrika (South Africa) – A lot of hype surrounded Afrika when he made his IRB debut in Dubai such is his natural ability. He’s now delivering. Sniping excellence and electric off the mark.

Matt Hawkins (USA) – The polar bear is a whole hearted competitor. Powerful and not afraid of the honest graft, but a try-scorer too as his 6 scores in Vegas would suggest.

Renaud Delmas (France) – Can’t be easy playing in a struggling French side but Delmas has performed well cutting sides apart with some piercing runs and impressive speed endurance.

Chris Brightwell (England) - Thick kiwi accent but has now firmly English and has really adapted superbly to the Sevens on the biggest stage of all. In a team of young flyers gives England some much needed physicality.

Kurt Baker (New Zealand) – Overshadowed a little by Sherwin Stowers but Baker is a class act. A Rapier break with a bullet of a pass of both hands makes him an ideal centre for Gordon Tietjens. Super 14/15 surely awaits.

UR7s - 'Best of Dubai/George VII'


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