Wales Sevens boss Paul John has paid tribute to the late Colin Hillman as he prepares to coach the Colin Hillman VII at the Cwmtawe Sevens this weekend.
Hillman, a truly great servant of sevens rugby, died earlier this month at the age of 46 and the Cwmtawe Sevens committee has accepted a late request for a team entered as the Colin Hillman Welsh Samurai Select.
Two Rugby World Cup Sevens champions are included in the side that will take the field at Parc Ynysderw on Saturday - new Ospreys signing, scrum-half Tom Isaacs, and Newport forward Craig Hill.
Also included are Rhys Shellard, Chris Davies, Tom Riley, Aaron Bramwell and Gavin Dacey, who all have experience on the IRB Sevens World Series. Colin Hillman's son Matthew will play in the side, as will Lloyd Williams, Wales Under 20 scrum-half at the recent IRB Junior World Championship in Japan, and Hartpury's Alex Cuthbert.
John paid tribute to Hillman's guidance to the Wales Sevens coaches and players as technical advisor to the side last season:
"Colin was a massive help to us all last season and I honestly don't think we would have achieved as much as we did without his input," said the Pontypridd head coach.
"We were a new, young, coaching set-up and Colin's help and advice helped all of us coaches, and the players too.
"He would take an active part in training sessions when his health and fitness allowed, and he would analyse our games on our return from tournaments, giving us advice and extra direction.
"He hoped to come to a couple of tournaments but sadly that wasn't possible due to his health, but I know how much it meant to him to have been involved in our World Cup success."
Any prize money raised by the team entering the tournament will be donated to Colin's chosen charity, Y Bwthyn Newydd, Bridgend Hospital. The British Army defend their title at Wales' top sevens event on Saturday and tournament organiser Julian Bracey is expecting a bumper crowd at Pontardawe's Parc Ynysderw. "Sevens and Colin Hillman were synonymous, to be honest," said Bracey. "There will be plenty of people turning up to cherish Colin's memory. I'm sure it will prove an emotional time for every fan of sevens rugby in Wales."
The 24 competing teams have been divided into eight pools of three.
Pool winners will go forward and qualify for the quarter-finals of a competition which carries a prize of £5,000.
Draw - Pool A: British Army, Swansea, Beach Rugby Wales.
Pool B: Neath, Global Ticka Rugby, Giants.
Pool C: Colin Hillman VII, Young Ospreys, Covenant Brothers.
Pool D: White Hart Marauders, Old Breconians, Glantaf Goats.
Pool E: Tonmawr, Stade Frenchay, Haka 7.
Pool F: Mel's Exiles, Cwmtawe 7, CSG OBs.
Pool G: Llanelli, Carmarthen Warriors, Ponty Butchers.
Pool H: Samurai 7, Rucku Spartans, West Country Cavaliers.
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Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
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