Swansea University and British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) are set to host the 2016 FISU World University Rugby Sevens Championships from 06-09 July.
The international competition will welcome 20 rugby sevens teams – 10 male and 10 female – from 16 nations. Two of the competing teams hoping to win gold in Swansea are Great Britain elite Men and Women squads who, following a rigorous selection programme, have been selected by officials from athletes across all home nations, including England, Wales and Scotland.
Both Men’s and Women’s teams include a squad of 12 players representing 10 British higher education institutions, with University of Bath, Loughborough University and Cardiff Metropolitan University providing three representatives each.
Among the selected women are University of Gloucestershire students Emily Wood and Abigail Walker who have both achieved elite sport success in recent years. Emily captained the England U20 side during the 2015/16 season and Abigail played a crucial role in Gloucestershire’s BUCS Rugby Union Championship-winning side in 2015.
The Men’s team features Jonathon Dawe who, in April of this year, won gold at the BUCS Rugby Sevens Championships with Cardiff Metropolitan University. International experience from within the side comes from Robert Coote (University of Exeter), who was part of the 2014 World University Rugby Sevens Championship-winning squad in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
The tournament pool draws took place on 2 June and revealed challenging pool opposition for both squads. In the Men’s competition, current world champions Team GBR will share a pool with strong international sides Australia and Italy. GB Women, despite avoiding world champions Canada in their pool, will have to negotiate challenging fixtures against New Zealand and France to progress to the competition’s finals.
Hoping to guide the men’s to international glory is Head Coach, James Farndon, who has been involved in student sevens for a number of years. During which time he undertook the role of Head Coach at both the 2010 and 2014 World University Championships.
"It’s always very exciting to bring together the best student players across the home nations for these sevens championships, and we are very pleased with the wider squad we have selected. The emphasis over the next month will be to develop a strong team work ethic, a collective understanding of how we want to play, each other's strengths on the field and of course individual fitness levels.
“Bigger picture, there are some very strong nations attending the Championships and we will be very focused on winning. The players involved are presented with a significant opportunity to test themselves in an international competition which shouldn't be underestimated in terms of their development," says James.
1. Emily Wood (England) – University of Gloucestershire
2. Tatyana Heard (England) – Cardiff Metropolitan University
2. Abigail Rose Walker (England) – University of Gloucestershire
4. Sydney Gregson (England) – University of Bath
5. Rebecca Defilippo (Wales) – University of Exeter
6. Devon Holt (England) – University of Gloucestershire
7. Lucy Nye (England) – Loughborough University
8. Robyn Wilkins (Wales) – Cardiff University
9. Hannah Jones (Wales) – Hartpury College
10. Charlotte Holland (England) – University of Bath
11. Kelly smith (England) – Hartpury College
12. Emma Hennessy (England) – Swansea University
1. Jonathon Dawe (Wales) – Cardiff Metropolitan University
2. Patrick Jenkinson (England) – University of Bath
3. Charles Kingham (England) – Loughborough University
4. Samir Kharbouch (England) – St Mary’s University
5. Samuel Pointon (England) – Loughborough University
6. Christopher Levesley (England) – Cardiff Metropolitan University
7. Thomas James (England) – Loughborough University
8. Zack Henry (England) – University of Bath
9. Robert Coote (England) – University of Exeter
10. Jack Rossiter (England) – St Mary's University
11. James Beal (England) – Cardiff Metropolitan University
12. Robert Stevenson (Wales) – Durham University