Wales wing Chris Czekaj will go one step further in his rugby rehabilitation when he flies to San Diego as part of the Wales Sevens squad.
The Cardiff speedster has been named to join the Welsh squad in California after the Wellington leg of the IRB Sevens World Series next weekend. It will be Czekaj's first foray into international rugby since suffering a horrific leg injury in Wales' summer Test against Australia in 2007.
Wales Sevens head coach Paul John has named 10 players who will travel to both Wellington and San Diego, while three experienced Sevens players, Aled Thomas (London Welsh), Dafydd Hewitt (Blues) and Aled Brew (Blues) will add some extra experience to the squad for the New Zealand tournament before returning home to be replaced by Czekaj and Dragons wing Jimmy Norris for the American competition. Scarlets backrow Josh Turnbull will travel to New Zealand as a reserve, and be a full member of the 12 man squad for San Diego.
Neath's Lee Beach will captain the side, while Turnbull and Ospreys scrum half Rhys Webb will make their Sevens debuts.
John said: "It's great to welcome back some seasoned Sevens players to the squad such as Aled Thomas, Lee Williams and Lee Beach. While we performed well at times in Dubai and George, experience is vital at this level and we are hoping to use these tournaments to gain some form and confidence ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in March.
"We have a tough pool in Wellington with Australia and New Zealand two of our Day One opponents, and we particularly want to improve on our disappointing displays against Australia in Dubai and George.
"Tom Isaacs and Jimmy Norris return to the squad after promising first outings in Dubai and George, while it's good to see some Premiership forwards stepping up to the mark on the international stage - Chris Davies (Aberavon), Craig Hill (Newport), James Merriman and Lee Beach (both Neath), along with Josh Turnbull who has played most of his rugby for Llanelli until now."
Wales Sevens squad for Wellington and San Diego: (Forwards): Lee Beach (capt, Neath), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Craig Hill (Newport), James Merriman (Neath), Dafydd Hewitt (Blues, Wellington only), Chris Davies (Aberavon).
(Backs): Lee Williams (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Aled Thomas (London Welsh, Wellington only), Tal Selley (Dragons), Rhodri McAtee (Cornish Pirates), Tom Isaacs (Dragons), Aled Brew (Blues, Wellington only), Chris Czekaj (Blues, San Diego only), Jimmy Norris (Dragons, San Diego only)
Wellington Sevens: Feb 6 - 7
San Diego Sevens: Feb 14 - 15
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WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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