Aussies wary of Kenya at Darwin

Aussies wary of Kenya at Darwin

Following the announcement of the seedings for this weekend's Hottest 7s in Darwin, Australian captain Patrick McCutcheon believes Kenya pose the biggest threat to his team claiming top honours at the two-day event which starts on Saturday. McCutcheon says his team, playing as the ‘Aussie Spirit’, will be looking to improve on the form which saw Australia emerge as Plate final victors in Dubai last month at the first leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

Following the announcement of the seedings for this weekend's Hottest 7s in Darwin, Australian captain Patrick McCutcheon believes Kenya pose the biggest threat to his team claiming top honours at the two-day event which starts on Saturday.

McCutcheon says his team, playing as the ‘Aussie Spirit’, will be looking to improve on the form which saw Australia emerge as Plate final victors in Dubai last month at the first leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

Kenya (5th) are just ahead of Australia (6th) on the IRB  standings and have been one of the form sides during the first two events on the eight-leg schedule, with McCutcheon wary of the challenge to Africans present.

Kenya beat Australia in the Cup quarter-finals at the second leg of the Series in George.

 “Winning the Plate Final in Dubai was a great experience and that’s given us some good stepping stones to build on for future tournaments, so hopefully we can continue and improve on that sort of form this weekend in Darwin,” McCutcheon said.

 “I believe Kenya is participating up there (as the ‘Wakimbizi Sevens’), they’ve got quite an experienced squad with some of their players being involved in their program for three or four seasons.

 “I think they’ll be our toughest competition but also you can’t underrate any of the Pacific Island teams, they’re always strong, physical, fast blokes so they’ll be tough competition as well.”

 The Aussie Spirit have been seeded third behind Kenya, with last year’s runners-up from Fiji, the South Sea Drifters, ranked first at the $65,000 event. The Drifters were the winners of this year's inaugural Gold Coast International Sevens.

Force powerful for Suva

The Emirates Western Force have named a 12-man squad for the upcoming International Sevens at the Suva Rugby Festival, with senior squad members Stefano Hunt and Luke Jones set for their first action in the club’s colours.

Hunt and Jones will be joined in Fiji by Academy Level 1 players Filipe Manu and Justin Turner, Australian Schoolboys flyhalf Kyle Godwin, Cook Islands Sevens representative Koiatu Koiatu and the cream of the local club Sevens scene.

Koiatu has set the Wellington leg of the IRB Sevens World Series alight over the last five years and plays his rugby for local side Waneroo.

The team has been grouped with USA, Fiji Police and Fiji Army for the tournament, which begins on Thursday (21 Jan)

Coach Dwayne Nestor said the squad was a good mixture of contracted Emirates Western Force players, up and coming Academy players, and quality West Australian club players who have familiarity in the Sevens format.

“It will be a great learning experience for a lot of our young guys who haven’t had a great deal of Sevens experience,” Nestor said