James Out, But Forster's Men Raring To Go At Games
1 August 2002 13:42pm
Dafydd James is out of the Welsh sevens squad at the Commonwealth Games. The
British Lion has suffered a recurrence of the elbow injury that dogged him
Swansea's Under 21 international Gareth Swales has come into the 12-man squad which kicks-off its second Commonwealth campaign against Sri Lanka at the City of Manchester Stadium on Thursday night.
"It was abig blow losing Dafydd because he gave us so many options. But Gareth
has played on the IRB World Series circuit with us and is an experienced sevens player," said Welsh team manager David Rees.
"We've had two good practice sessions with England and New Zealand and we are targetting a place in the semi-finals. To have the best possible chance of doing that we must win all three of our pool matches."
Jason Forster's men start with what should be an easy task against Sri
Lanka at 7.20pm tomorrow nigh. They then go on to face a Tongan side that includes Neath centre Dave Tiueti at 10.10pm.
Their third pool game is against South Africa on Friday at 3.20pm, with the
quarter-finals taking place later in the day. The semi-finals and finals
take place on Sunday.
"The South Africans have lost a couple of players because of Tri Nations duty
but they will still be very strong. They were among the top sides in the
recent IRB World Series and it will take a huge effort to beat them," said
"But all the players realise that the best route to the medals is by winning
the pool. That could put us on course for a clash with Scotland, rather than
a match up with the reigning champions New Zealand for the second placed
The Commonwealth Games will provide Wales' most capped scrum half, Rob Howley, with his swan song in the Welsh jersey.
Wales Sevens Squad: Jason Forster (Newport, captain), Gareth Gravell (Newport), Gareth Thomas (Bridgend), Gareth Williams (Llanelli), Rob Howley (London Wasps), Gareth Baber (Pontypridd), Arwel Thomas (Swansea), Gareth Swales (Swansea), Emyr Lewis (Pontypridd), Craig Richards (Bridgend), Matthew Robinson (Swansea), Gareth Wyatt (Pontypridd).
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference