Friday, April 09, 2010

UR7s 'Best of Adelaide/Hong Kong VII'

With London 7's in full swing over in the UK, we felt it was a good time to take a moment and look aback at the Honk Kong and Adelaide 7's. Thanks to our good friends over at UR7s.com we have compiled a best of list. And thanks to some exceptional performances by the US Eagles, there are a few familiar faces on this list.

After each of the 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. It's time to select a VII from Adelaide and Hong Kong.

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 us hear your views Sevens fans...press@ur7s.com

Best of Adelaide/Hong Kong VII

1. Matt Hawkins (USA) – Came of age in the last few tournaments, continuing his good showing in Vegas. Al Caravelli rates him rightly as his most valuable forward and his power and stamina are right up there with anyone else this year. Deft off-loads and sensible head under pressure in the Eagles' charge to Adelaide final.

2. DJ Forbes (New Zealand) – Will probably be criticised for again including Forbes, but his performances leave no argument. Leads from the front in every sense and has that mystical ability to always be on the shoulder of likes of Baker, Cama, and Lawrence all day. Incredibly ruthless at the breakdown as always.

3. Simaika Mikaele (Samoa) – It might be getting boring lavishing praise on this unstoppable Samoan forward line but they are making it impossible for me not to include them. Mikaele, perhaps stirred on by the supreme form shown by colleagues such as Fa’osiliva, was magnificent in Australia and Hong Kong, showing boundless energy and courage. Key ties in big games too.

4. James Stannard (Australia) – In a team that has an average age of 20, Stannard’s wise head is a reassuring. The zippy playmaker has played his heart out all season, often the unsung hero in a squad bristling with talent. Terrier-like breaks and never afraid to get stuck in physically, a player who you would be happy to know was in your ranks.

5. Zar Lawrence (New Zealand) – Not always guaranteed of a starting berth this year, but the vastly experienced 28-year-old Lawrence is still a valuable part of Gordon Tietjens’ furniture. At first receiver he unselfishly sets the kiwis pattern with flawless distribution. Still has an eye for the line and unerring desire in ‘D’.

6. Kevin Swiryn (USA) – Right back into the swing of things on the IRB Sevens. The versatile American skipper led his side to a hugely productive couple of weeks on tour, scoring twelve tries in the process. It’s not just his try scoring prowess though that has impressed. Possess brilliant hands, strength, and athleticism. All action stuff.

*Kurt Baker (NZ) unlucky to miss out, but yellow cards counted against him.

7. Mikaele Pesamino (Samoa) - The Upolu man increases his tally this season to a breathtaking 47 tries. One feature I have noted is his ability not only to cause havoc against minnows but his knack of influencing big matches – the mark of a great player. Remarkable performance in HK final; one moment it looked like his hamstring was shot, the next he is subjecting the Kiwis to another defeat.

Replacements:

Marco Barnard – A spiky performer and a la Matt Hawkins, wears his heart on his sleeve. Burrowing at the breakdown and sniping runs keep opposition guessing.

James Rodwell – Aside from Ben Gollings, England’s most experienced player had a quite and disappointing December and February. But came storming back in Aus and HK dominating the re-start, great support, and bounding runs.

Liam Gill – Just 17 years of age but Gill just gets better and better for Australia, after coming into the squad as injury replacement in Vegas. Scoring tries and showing impressive maturity by his desire to make things happen in the midfield. Real prospect.

Andrew Turnbull – Head and shoulders ahead of the rest of his team, Turnbull has scored some special individual efforts in recent times. Scintillating try against NZ, putting the after-burners on past Tomasi Cama.

Niumaia Rokobuli – No doubt that Fiji miss Seremia Burotu but Rokobuli was at times unstoppable in Hong Kong. Classic Fijian forward. Height and power combined with speed and and hands of a half-back - standard!

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