Great Britain team named for World Games 7's
July 19, 2005

Great Britain 7s coach Rob Moffat has announced his squad to compete in the World Games in Duisburg, Germany later this week.

Full time Scotland 7s coach Moffat was approached by the IRB to head up Great Britain's entry for the Games, which take place every four years, and today he announced that the squad will consist of eight Scots, two Englishmen and Wales 7s captain Gareth Williams.

Moffat is thoroughly looking forward to the Games but admitted that picking the squad was a task in itself. He said: "The World Games will provide a high standard of quality rugby and together with the other 39 sports on show it will be an excellent event. We will be playing in a 37,500 capacity stadium and there are around 500,000 spectators expected across all the sports.

"The concept of a Great Britain team is very good but we have been faced with challenges when selecting the squad. Our aim was to cast the net as far as we could but as it has worked out we haven't been able to tie down any players from Northern Ireland. This was disappointing for us because we felt representation from all four countries was important.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the professional and amateur teams who have released players for this competition," he added.

On day one of the sevens Great Britain will face hosts Germany, Japan and World Games title holders Fiji, who are also world champions having won the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong earlier this year.

South Africa, France, Argentina and the USA make up the crossover pool. France finished the IRB series on a high winning their own tournament in Paris with South Africa taking top honours at the penultimate competition in London.

On the draw, Moffat said: "Germany are up first, followed by Japan and with Fiji rounding off day one. This is good for us because Fiji will be tough, especially as Waisale Serevi will be back along with the other big names. Depending on how we do on day one, it is likely that we will play either South Africa or Argentina and we are pleased with that."

Along with the eight players Rob is familiar with from Scotland he has named Wales 7s captain and hooker Gareth Williams, Saracens' back-row James Mathias and Rotherham winger David Strettle.

On the trio Moffat said: "Gareth is a very experienced player who has played at a very high level for a long time. He played in the last World Games four years ago in Japan so that is also a valuable asset.

"James is an up and coming back-row forward who is well known on the invitation sevens circuit and David is a renowned finisher with raw talent. He was the top try scorer in National One last season and was player of the tournament at the Amsterdam Sevens earlier this year.

"Together with Andrew Turnbull and Cameron Johnston we have three players with serious pace who have more than enough ability to finish moves and score tries," he added.

From the Scots, Moffat has included two players who will get their first taste of international sevens having not been involved previously with Scotland's national squad in IRB competition. Scrum-half Rory Lawson and 18 year old back-row Richard Vernon are both exciting sevens prospects.

Moffat said: "We are constantly aiming to develop Scotland's young players through sevens and this is an excellent opportunity for Rory Lawson. He has been playing alongside Mike Blair at Edinburgh Rugby and he's a quality player with all the right attributes.

"Richard has trained with the Scotland 7s squad and he is someone we had planned on using over the coming season. Again this is a great opportunity for a young player with serious potential. He is fast - there are not many 6'4" forwards with his pace - and he's got a lot of rugby about him," he added.

Familiar faces accompany Moffat to Germany in the shape Scotland 7s' Oli Brown, Andrew Turnbull and Jamie Blackwood, all of whom played in all eight IRB tournaments last year. Alongside will be Ross Rennie, Cameron Johnston and Alistair Warnock who all made their international sevens debuts in London in June.

Scotland's representative on the International Rugby Board Bill Nolan said: "The IRB regards rugby sevens as one of the best ways in which to develop rugby globally, particularly among the smaller, and emerging, unions, and that has already been recognised with sevens now included in The Asian Games and The Commonwealth Games, as well as The Pan-African and Pan-American Games.

"The current IRB World Series has taken the sport onto the global stage in venues as far apart as Wellington, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai this season with huge crowds turning out to admire the individual and team skills on show. The World Games in Duisburg will be no different and sevens will play an integral part in the festivities," he added.

GREAT BRITAIN 7s SQUAD

Ross Rennie (Stewart's Melville FP, Scotland), Gareth Williams (Camarthen Quins, Wales), Richard Vernon (Stewart's Melville FP, Scotland), James Mathias (Saracens, England), Oli Brown* (Boroughmuir, Scotland), Rory Lawson* (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland), Andrew Turnbull* (Watsonians, Scotland), Alistair Warnock* (Nottingham, Scotland), Cameron Johnston* (Newcastle Falcons, Scotland), Jamie Blackwood* (Watsonians, Scotland) and David Strettle (Rotherham, England)

* = member of Scottish Institute of Sport

Management: Rob Moffat (coach), Peter Gallagher (manager) and Stephen Mutch (physiotherapist)

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