Team GB spoilt for choice?
August 9, 2012
Jonathan Joseph could shine for Team GB in 2016 © PA Photos
The country is currently gripped by Olympic fever but some are already turning their attention to four years time when Sevens will take its bow at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. With this in mind, this week's Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players currently not involved within the short-form of the game who could shine for Team GB in Brazil.
One of the stars of the recent J.P. Morgan 7s Series, the diminutive Clark is just 19 and looks to have a bright future in the game. Blessed with blistering pace and a solid step, Clark will hope to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jonny May and Charlie Sharples in progressing from the Gloucester Academy to the first-team. At just 22, those two are definitely young enough to feature in the games in four years time if they make the cut while Clark will be 23 at the time and could be everything that Team GB will want from a gas man. He scored an impressive 10 tries in this year's Sevens Series but he will want to forget his error in the final as he failed to ground the ball when across the line.
Built in the same mould as Tom Croft, Gibson is predominantly a blindside but can also turn out at openside. London Irish's Gibson has impressive gas but also offers a level of physicality that could provide a slightly different option for Team GB as they look to vie with likely gold medal favourites New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji in four years time. He is on England's radar having featured in both of their midweek matches while on tour in South Africa and was recently named in the Saxons EPS for the remainder of 2012.
Dubbed the next Jeremy Guscott, Joseph announced himself on the international scene last summer with three Test caps on England's tour of South Africa. The London Irish centre has a huge future in the game and aged just 21, there is every chance that he could feature in both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups for England. Joseph was named Player of the Round for the last leg of the J.P. Morgan Sevens Series thanks largely to his heroics in the final where his two second-half scores got London Irish back into the mix and helped them claim a 31-28 victory over Gloucester after being down 28-5 at half-time.
With an impressive scoring rate of 11 tries in 24 games for Wales, North looks to have already cemented his place on the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and there's every chance he could also follow up an expected place at the 2015 World Cup with a spot in the squad for Rio a year later. He's just 20-years-old and at 6'4" can also scoot across 40m in just 4.97 seconds. Fellow first-choice backs for Wales, Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert, could also feature in 2016 but North appears to be in the box seat on current form.
In contrast to the monstrous stature of North, Robinson is just 5'9" and weighs just under 13st. He shone for Wales in the most recent HSBC Sevens World Series and also crossed the line seven times for Cardiff RFC last season. He took his bow for the national side in their 'Test' against the Barbarians in June and lit up the Millennium Stadium with the run for his try showing his blistering pace. Comparisons with Shane Williams are inevitable but in the land of giants such as Cuthbert and North, Wales have a different and equally potent weapon in the guise of Robinson.
Sam Tomkins in action for Wigan © PA Photos
The Wigan Warriors star has already run out in the union code for the Barbarians back in November where he started on the wing and even crossed the line in the dying embers of a match they lost 60-11. While his brother Joel is yet to make the impact many expected at Saracens, there's every chance that Sam will be in the XV code in the next couple of years. His stunning solo efforts are almost becoming the norm in the Super League - he has 26 tries this season - and figures such as Sir Clive Woodward have called on the union powers that be to get Tomkins moving across the cross-code divide.
The flying Dutchman took his Test bow for Scotland against Fiji this summer and marked the occasion with two tries. At domestic level, Visser has a reputation as one of the RaboDirect PRO12's most devastating finishers with 43 tries in 74 games for Edinburgh. It will be interesting to see how he fairs for Scotland come the autumn internationals but with Andy Robinson's side lacking firepower in the past, Visser, alongside Stuart Hogg, may provide them with the necessary cutting edge.
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