The Sevens squad get some last minute advice from Paul John.
Wales Sevens head coach Paul John has announced a new-look squad for the first IRB Sevens World Series tournaments of the season in Dubai (Dec 5 - 7) and George, South Africa (Dec 11 - 12).
Only captain Chris Davies (Aberavon), Newport's Craig Hill, Cross Keys flanker Jevon Groves and Llandovery flyer Ifan Evans have previous international Sevens experience, with Hill the only member of Wales' Rugby World Cup Sevens winning squad set to return to Dubai. All four are contracted WRU core Sevens players, as are uncapped trio Chris Morgan (Aberavon), Nicky Thomas (Swansea) and Lloyd Wiliams (Blues).
Ospreys youngsters Ashley Beck and Justin Tipuric, Cardiff outside half Gareth Davies, Scarlets Academy scrum half Lee Rees and UWIC's Alex Cuthbert have been added to the squad for these two legs of the Series.
Wales have a tough draw at next week's Dubai tournament, with last year's Series winners South Africa, Australia and Arabian Gulf their Pool opponents.
John said, "Following our success at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai, a lot of our squad have gone on to secure new professional contracts in the fifteen a side game, which is a positive result of the win, and we have taken the opportunity to bring in some new players into the squad so it's a fresh start in lots of ways.
"The WRU has introduced core contracts for Sevens players which is hugely positive for us. It means we are able to achieve a consistency of selection that we have never had before. As a full time member of staff I also have more time to work on preparation, analysis and coaching with the players.
"Ashley Beck, Justin Tipuric and Nicky Thomas have already played some Regional rugby this season but Sevens is a key development tool for us as a Union and we hope players like these will gain a huge amount in skill levels, experience and confidence from international Sevens which will serve them well in the professional game. Gareth Davies and Lee Rees have been playing exceptionally well in the Principality Premiership and Alex Cuthbert has played quite a bit on the invitational Sevens circuit.
"Chris (Davies) has been selected as captain for these tournaments. He has a terrific work ethic and we believe he will lead by example."
Despite the tough draw, John is buoyed by his side's preparation for the season ahead.
"We recently played in a training tournament in France, where we played France, Scotland, a Moroccan side and an Argentinean team. We played five games and managed to pip Scotland in the final to win the tournament. That was the first time we've been able to play some competitive rugby before the Sevens season kicks off, so it was great for us. It means the new players have some matches under their belt before Dubai. We usually start the season slowly due to lack of playing and training time but hopefully that experience will help us this time around.
"We have a tough pool with last year's champions, South Africa, Australia, who we failed to beat in a number of meetings last season and the Arabian Gulf so we just want the players to play to their potential and the aim, as it was in the world cup, will be to try and get out of the pool and go from there. That will be the aim throughout the season - to try and get into more Cup quarter-finals and move up the IRB rankings.
"It will be a steep learning curve for our squad and while they are a very talented group of boys, they may take a while to gel.
"Dubai is a fantastic competition, there is a huge Welsh contingency in the crowd and I'm sure our players will grow through the tournament."
Wales Sevens squad for Dubai and George: Chris Davies (capt, Aberavon), Lee Rees (Scarlets Academy), Chris Morgan (Aberavon), Gareth Davies (Cardiff), Nicky Thomas (Swansea), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), Ifan Evans (Llandovery), Craig Hill (Newport), Alex Cuthbert (UWIC), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Jevon Groves (Cross Keys)
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