Following last weeks 20-11 ranked players in our Top Twenty players on the HSBC World Sevens Series in 2012 it's not the turn of the Top Ten. These are the players considered to be the very best in the world in Rugby 7s, the men that pull the strings, score the tries, dominate the tackle and the breakdown. The players we all pay good money to watch at 9 tournaments all over the world. From Wellington to Hong Kong to the Gold Coast of Australia they are wowing crowds with their athletic and rugby playing skills. It's not all about the men in 2012. The Womens World Sevens Series kicked off in Dubai last month and with it, we will be naming the 'Top 5 International Sevens Stars 2012' for the women and are absolutely certain that this list will only grow as the series continues in Houston, China and Amsterdam in 2013.
Following last weeks 20-11 ranked players in our Top Twenty players on the HSBC World Sevens Series in 2012 it's not the turn of the Top Ten. These are the players considered to be the very best in the world in Rugby 7s, the men that pull the strings, score the tries, dominate the tackle and the breakdown. The players we all pay good money to watch at 9 tournaments all over the world. From Wellington to Hong Kong to the Gold Coast of Australia they are wowing crowds with their athletic and rugby playing skills.
It's not all about the men in 2012. The Womens World Sevens Series kicked off in Dubai last month and with it, we will be naming the 'Top 5 International Sevens Stars 2012' for the women and are absolutely certain that this list will only grow as the series continues in Houston, China and Amsterdam in 2013.
The UR7s awards panel includes a number of people that have seen every game of HSBC World Sevens Series rugby in 2012, whilst have also taken in European Grand Prix Series, HSBC Asian Sevens Series plus a huge number of domestic rugby 7s that has featured a large number of international stars. The panel includes Tom Burwell (UR7s CEO), Jon Bolter (Lead Rugby 7s Columnist, UR7s), Nick Jordan (International 7s writer), Andre Ryder (International 7s writer), Alison Donnelly (Scrumqueens.com), Mike Friday (Kenya 7s Coach) & Al Caravelli (Phillipines Coach/Former USA Coach)
Our panel certainly did not agree with one another on who the Top 20 players in the world have been in 2012 but compromises have been found. The chief protagonist for the nominated player gives his views on what makes his man so good and so deserving of making the UR7s Top Twenty International Stars of 2012.
The Top Ten
No. 10 - DJ Forbes (New Zealand) - 54 Tournament Caps - " Epitomises the success of the team he plays in. He is the glue in the NZ team does all the link work in attack and selfless hard work in the middle of the pitch defensively" - Friday
No. 9 - Chris Cracknell (England) - 29 Tournament Caps - "Like Forbes for New Zealand very much the glue for a successful England side. Matches if not surpasses the southern hemisphere forwards at the breakdown area, very much represents in the trenches. His value to England can be seen in their struggles up front in recent tournaments. Not as quick as some of his team mates but for a big fella he can move" - Bolter
No. 8 - Frank Halai (New Zealand) - The powerhouse New Zealand winger who was quick and powerful but also able to subtly pick a pass when he had allot of attention from defenders and others were ins space. Provided some biog performances at big times for New Zealand and has now graduated. - Friday
No. 7 - Paul Perez (Samoa) - Another huge man. Samoa are a completely different side with him than without. Opposition have to account for him in their defense that space is created elsewhere that others take advantage. He might be more brute force than some but he is World Class with it. - Ryder
No. 6 - Tim Mikkelson (New Zealand) - 34 Tournament Caps - "Can't quite work out whether Mikkelson is under-rated or not. He is so consistent and so versatile. Can basically play anywhere in the pack or outside backs and that's something that Tietjens uses to All Blacks advantage. Clever defender, awkward at breakdown and a try scorer" Burwell & Friday
No. 5 - Setefano Cakau (Fiji) - 38 Tournament Caps - The leader of Fiji 7s who provides the discipline and direction to the magical Fijians. Another Mr 'Versatile' positionally at his best on the wing or as a forward holding one side of the pitch. Fast powerful with a fierce hand off. Not just power though, he brings experience and subtlety with his force.
No. 4 - Cecil Afrika (South Africa) - 22 Tournament Caps - "The former World Player of the Year has all the skills with ball in hand, he is dangerous with his feet, ability to really spread the field with his hands. Gives the Blitzbokke a different dynamic, his subtlety and ability to get them moving makes their power men ever more dangerouns" - Ryder
No. 5 - Alafoti Faosaliva (Samoa) - "The other half of the Samoan outside channel truck!!...Literally a freak so big and powerful and quick too boot and takes two to stop him. Fundamental to Samoa success and the biggest influence on their team. He has graduated from the circuit for the time being but is impact in 2012 is unquestioned" - Friday
No. 2 - Mat Turner (England) - 27 Tournament Caps - "England best player, matches the scoring feats of Norton whilst creating many of the scores for his team mates. Can attack both wide with his speed but also his balance and dynamic power makes him dangerous through the middle. His versatility makes him the most complete player on the circuit at the moment" - Bolter
No. 1 - Tomasi Cama (New Zealand) - 51 Tournament Caps - "The only unanamous decision from everyone on our panel. Matching his IRB Player of the Year award. Cama is the best player in the world at the moment, pulling strings for fun for the irrepressible New Zealand side. He is at the heart of all of the good they do going forwards. Doesn't just make players for others but also with his own feet for over 120 tries of his own. Best kicker on the series since Gollings retired, the all round 7s magician at the moment" - UR7s Panel
Some interesting stats about players ranking 10-1
- Average Tournament Caps - 33.7 Tournament Caps or over 3.5 years on the circuit
- Average Points Scored -572.5 - This includes the 1704 points scored by Tomasi Cama (410 average not including Cama)
- Number of Forwards - 5
- Number of Backs - 5
- Northern Hemisphere - 2
- Southern Hemisphere - 8
Our panel made it's decision and the best player in the world in 2012 has been Tomasi Cama. The little general of the all powerful New Zealand 7s side that has continued it's consistent run of form making 3 finals so far this season. Cama is the key to the All Blacks attack, he makes them tick. Whilst the first half of our list was evenly spread across the 2 hemispheres, the southern hemisphere have dominated the Top 10 with only the 2 Englishmen getting the nod. With so many points and experience between these players, we thought it would make an awesome 10 man squad!
Will things change in 2013 as we head first to Wellington and eventually in Moscow for the Rugby World Cup 7s. Will new stars develop or will our Top Twenty continue to dominate the world of 7s.
The World Series goes far deeper than the twenty players listed here, with players such as Raikabula, Norton, Du Preez, Lutumailagi, Bourahoua, Talebula, Mitchell, Turnbull, Kayange, Ouma missing out, next year we are going to be asking our panel to be do a 'Top 50 Players in the World' it's the only way justice can be done to incredible talents and skills of the men currently on the World Sevens Series in the newest Olympic sport.
Do you agree/disagree? If your favorite player missing completely or in the wrong spot. Then let us know either on Twitter or on our Facebook Page. Most compelling argument might well win a prize!
Tomorrow we will announce the winners of our UR7s Awards 2012 acknowledging 'everything 7s' from around the World that makes the sport of rugby 7s so special