There is a new venue, a new date and a new name for the WRU National 7s tournament. The Heineken 7s replaces the Foster’s 7s and will now take place at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 27 May rather than BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Llandovery will defend their double title, with all 16 Principality Premiership sides competing, while the four Regional Women’s sides will also compete for the national title, currently held by the Scarlets.
WRU Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John said, “We changed the date of the tournament following discussion with the Premiership clubs and in view of the international sevens schedule.
“At the end of August, Premiership sides are focussed on the start of the 15-a-side season, whereas at the end of May, they can concentrate on sevens, albeit for a short time.
“Also, by September, our national sevens coaches are close to finalising their squad for the World Series but by holding the Heineken 7s at the end of May, players will have a chance to impress the coaches to claim a place in the squad for the Rugby Europe sevens tournaments in June and July and from there, they could well be selected for the World Series.
“We have already seen in the likes of Steff Andrews and Jack Maynard, that players who impress at this tournament can go onto play for Wales Sevens, and moving the date of the event should accelerate that process.
“We will hopefully compete at the Commonwealth Games next year – with female as well as male teams – and we have the Rugby World Cup Sevens next year too.
“This tournament could be the start of a very exciting process for both men and women involved.”
Jon Daniels, Scarlets General Manager of Rugby said: “Sevens is a fantastic way of getting people involved in rugby as it’s fast-paced and full of action and it has built up a huge following since its inaugural appearance in last summer’s Olympics, a tournament where our very own James Davies came away with a silver medal as part of Team GB.
“The Heineken 7s tournament, at its new location here at Parc y Scarlets, will bring a fantastic season to a close but will also kick-start what is promising to be a thrilling summer of rugby. We’re delighted to host the new-look Heineken 7s, a hugely attractive competition for all Premiership clubs.
“Llandovery and Scarlets Women will be making their way here as current title holders and we sincerely hope that the Heineken 7s trophies will remain here in West Wales!”
Tickets for the day long event are on sale here now (tickets.scarlets.wales or by calling 0871 871 8088
There is a special offer available for participating teams including a coach to and from the event from their home club. For £15 per person (based on minimum of 49 people), they will receive club seats and access to the Quinnell Lounge as well as coach travel.
See www.scarlets.wales for more info, book via the Scarlets Ticket Office on 0871 871 8088 or contact your participating club or supporters’ club.
Ebbw scrum half Chris Thomas has been making a big impression in his first few games for Thames Rugby club in New Zealand. He’s played in all four of their games so far, all of which they have won, and has notched up a couple of tries. His performances have caught the eye of regional selectors and he’s been asked if he would like to be involved with the local provincial team, Thames Valley, who play in the Ranfurly Shield and are a feeder team for the Waikato Chiefs. As his dad, Richard, commented, “Pretty good going for a boy from Penallta and Ebbw!”
Fans’ favourite Chris Levesley suffered a serious facial injury 10 minutes into Saturday’s game with RGC, which resulted in him requiring an operation on a badly fractured jaw in the Heath Hospital on Saturday. Chris is recovering and will obviously play no further part in the remaining games. I’m sure all Ebbw Addicts wish Chris a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him in the Steelmen colours next season
James Lewis missed Saturday’s game with a hip flexor injury but should be in contention for the vital Llandovery game.
Outside Half Josh Lewis is still recovering from the affects of concussion during the Pontypridd game and will be assessed again during the coming week.
In addition to this Jonathan Davies received a 6 week ban for his dismissal in the Merthyr game and will be eligible to play from May 5th.
Everyone at the club was saddened to learn that Graham Davies, former Ebbw Vale and Cardiff lock, died on March 23rd. Graham lived in Alandale Road, Rassau, went to Rassau School and then Ebbw Vale Grammar School. He was capped in the Welsh Schools team and went with them to South Africa in in the 50s, when Clive Rowlands was scrum-half. He played for Ebbw Vale then moved to Cardiff where he was first choice for many years and represented the Blue and Blacks against the Springboks and All Blacks.
When we played at the Arms Park in the Cup we met him and other well known players of a great era in Cardiff’s history.
Our sympathies go to Graham’s family.