The successful former England 7s trio of Joe Lydon, Mike Friday and Simon Amor will be reunited once more at the home of England Rugby in this month's Middlesex Charity 7s tournament.
Lydon and Friday have both coached England to successful Hong Kong 7s titles, whilst Amor led his country to all four Hong Kong victories as well as a Commonwealth silver medal in 2006.
Lydon, now Head of Rugby, Performance & Development at the Welsh Rugby Union, will once again partner Mike Friday but this time to coach the ULR Samurai team in this year's charity 7s at Twickenham on 15th August. Amor, who retired from England 7s in 2007, will pull on his boots as skipper of the invitational Samurai team which is made up of leading 7s players from around the world.
Lydon said, "The Middlesex 7s is always a great day in the rugby calendar and I am excited to join up with Mike, Simon and what is developing into a world class squad of players under the world famous ULR Samurai banner. We may have limited time to prepare the squad assembled from around the world but I'm confident that with the quality of players in a squad that includes three of this year's IRB 7s Series winning South Africans, the Samurai can play the type of 7s rugby that will put a smile on the faces of the thousands of fans who will attend the Twickenham tournament."
The ULR Samurai side will play in honour of Colin Hillman, the former Welsh 7s coach who died last month from cancer. Lydon said, "Colin was a wonderful character and extremely passionate about all aspects of rugby, especially 7s. This is a great way of paying tribute to him and should we be lucky enough to win the tournament we will be donating money to the charity set up in his name."
Amor last featured in the 2006 Middlesex 7s when his club side Wasps lifted the trophy. Since leaving Wasps Simon, who won the inaugural IRB Sevens Player of the Year title in 2004, has been coaching and occasionally playing at London Scottish, and alongside Friday, has been coaching the England Women's 7s team. Amor said, "Any rugby player loves the chance to play at Twickenham, and the Middlesex 7s is always a great start to the new rugby season. I have got used to Mike being my assistant with the England Women's team so I am sure he is relishing the chance to tell me what to do again as my coach!"
He continued, "I haven't played a minute of 7s since retiring from England in 2007 so I am not sure how my legs will cope but this was a fantastic cause and I can't wait to take to the Twickenham pitch once more."
Friday coached England alongside Lydon before taking over the reins in 2004, and led England to a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He said, "I am looking forward to working alongside Joe again and seeing what the squad can do in the short time we are together. We have some great talent in the squad, and I am delighted that Simon has agreed to captain. We face Northampton Saints in the opening round who we are expecting to be tough, but hopefully we can pull together quickly as a squad and do everyone proud."
The URL Samurai team will be named in full nearer the event but already confirmed alongside Amor are South African 7s squad members Ryno Benjamin and Marius Schoeman as well as IRB 7s leading points scorer and former team mate of Amor Ben Gollings.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.