Picking a World Rugby Sevens Team Ahead of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
As the Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens begins in Glasgow tomorrow, here are Bleacher Report’s picks for a World Sevens team.
The selection is based on the assertion that the all-round skills of the global stars of the 15-man game would lend themselves to form an ideal seven if given the chance.
Players who are currently injured are eligible for selection.
Not surprisingly, the southern hemisphere leads the way, but one European makes the starting seven.
Forward—Prop: Kieran Read (New Zealand)
Forward—Hooker: Schalk Brits (South Africa)
Schalk Brits’ speed and vision are remarkable for a hooker, especially a 33-year-old one. Even in the 15-a-side game, he often appears to be a surrogate back with his trademark bursts and support.
The Saracen’s energy is outstanding: a key factor in the intensity of rugby sevens. His skills at the line-out and the scrum ensure he is a first-choice.
Honourable mention: Tom Youngs (England)
Forward—Prop: Justin Tipuric (Wales)
Justin Tipuric gets the nod for his speed off the mark and ability to play with his head up.
As the video above shows, the Welshman is a very dangerous runner if there is space to exploit. On that occasion, against England in 2013, Alex Cuthbert was the beneficiary of Tipuric's skills. A selfless player, he could create plenty of tries for the flyers in this team.
Honourable mention: Michael Hooper (Australia)
Back—Scrum-Half: Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
Aaron Smith has emerged as a real attacking threat around the ruck in the 15-a-side game. As there is more space, his expertise there is magnified in sevens.
A live wire who can dummy, distribute and kick, an in-form Smith holds off the challenge of the currently sidelined Australian Will Genia.
Honourable mention: Will Genia (Australia)
Back—Fly-Half: Quade Cooper (Australia)
Quade Cooper is the definition of a mercurial player. But in the seven-a-side game, his outrageous selection of passes, kicks and sidesteps have a perfect platform.
This format would play to his main strength: an instinctive style of play. Free from having to worry about game management, Cooper would relish performing in rugby sevens.
Honourable mention: Dan Carter (New Zealand)
Back—Second Receiver: Israel Folau (Australia)
Israel Folau has taken Rugby Union by storm since his move from Aussie Rules and the AFL. As well as being a devastating runner with a great offload, this team benefits from the physical edge Folau provides.
Another advantage is that mid-game he could switch with the wing/full-back and play as a wide receiver, giving the defence a new set of problems.
Honourable mention: Kurtley Beale (Australia)
Back—Wing/Full-Back: Willie le Roux (South Africa)
Willie le Roux would be the ideal man to complement Israel Folau out wide.
Although he usually plays on the wing or at full-back, the versatile Le Roux is often used as a first or second receiver in the 15-a-side game by South Africa, and his reading of the game is as invaluable as his speed and footballing skills. The 24-year-old would no doubt exel at sevens.
Honourable mention: Ben Smith (New Zealand)