Gwent quartet bidding for sevens glory
10:02am Saturday 24th August 2013 in Latest Rugby
THERE’S no margin for error for the clubs chasing glory at the Foster’s National Sevens on Sunday, writes Chris Kirwan.
The tournament at Cardiff Arms Park is knockout rugby from the off, although a Plate competition will prevent squads from testing out the sponsors’ product too early.
Four Gwent clubs are heading for the capital – Championship holders Ebbw Vale and the Premiership trio of Bedwas, Cross Keys and Newport.
Keys, who will be coached by Dragons flanker Jevon Groves, are the first of the quartet in action when they take on Bridgend at 11am.
They boast a strong squad captained by Nathan Williams but have left out a number of first team regulars given that they host Newport in a British and Irish Cup play-off next Saturday.
Bedwas take on Aberavon (kick-off 11.20am), although today’s pre-season friendly against Newbridge is a more important part of their pre-season preparations.
The Black and Ambers take on hosts Cardiff (kick-off 12pm) and will be looking to show the sort of form that made them kings of the Men of Gwent Sevens.
Newport frequently turned to World Cup winner Craig Hill to spearhead their challenge, lifting the trophy in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Their hopes of enjoying the same success at the Arms Park as they did at Rodney Parade are dented by injuries.
Club captain Lee Beach, a Sevens World Cup winner with Wales in 2009, is among the walking wounded after suffering a blow to his knee against Moseley last weekend with the club waiting for news about the expected length of his lay-off.
Nonetheless, Newport still boast a raft of elusive runners in their squad such as Elliot Frewen, James Leadbeater and Owen Broad.
Ebbw Vale have to wait until 12.40pm until they take to the plastic pitch when they clash with Llanelli.
The Steelmen, who played Carmarthen Quins last night, have pledged to give their young players a crack with a smattering of experience.
Foster's National Sevens, round one games: Pontypridd v Neath (10.20am), Wales Students v Carmarthen Quins (10.40am), Bridgend v Cross Keys (11am), Aberavon v Bedwas (11.20am), Llandovery v Bargoed (11.40am), Cardiff v Newport (12pm), Swansea v RGC 1404 (12.20pm), Ebbw Vale v Llanelli (12.40pm).
Plate and Cup quarter-finals start at 1.30pm, semi-finals start at 4.10pm, the Plate final is at 6pm and the Cup final is at 6.30pm.
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