Sam Cross desperate to make Dragons impression after Commonwealth agony

KEY FIGURE: Newport Gwent Dragons will be looking for Wales international Sam Cross to lead the charge (Picture: IRB, Martin Seras Lima)

KEY FIGURE: Newport Gwent Dragons will be looking for Wales international Sam Cross to lead the charge (Picture: IRB, Martin Seras Lima)

First published in Latest Rugby
Last updated
South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

SAM Cross will attempt to get over his Commonwealth Games heartbreak by captaining Newport Gwent Dragons to Premiership Rugby 7s glory tomorrow evening.

The 21-year-old hoped he would be lining up for Wales in Glasgow this weekend but narrowly missed out on selection.

It was galling for the back row forward from Brynmawr, as he was a leading figure for his country in the 2013/14 IRB World Series and has a national contract for the coming campaign.

Cross won't be watching his Wales teammates doing their stuff in the group stage at Ibrox tomorrow; instead he will be leading the charge for the Dragons at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (7.15pm start).

"I was gutted about the Commonwealth Games but it's good to be given an opportunity this weekend to make a mark," said Cross, who has signed for Newport from Cardiff Met and is training with the Dragons in pre-season.

"It's an exciting tournament and it's great that the Welsh regions are involved in it for the first time.

"Hopefully I can use my sevens experience and help the boys along because I think that we've got a great squad that is capable of winning it and going on to the finals day at the Stoop."

Cross has been picked as captain by Dragons coach Nick Wakley, who has been denied the services of unattached sevens specialist Ed Tellwright.

The former UWIC student was named in the 12-strong squad on Tuesday but the Welsh Rugby Union have deemed that cannot feature at the Arms Park as his registration is held by an English club.

The former Rotherham, Jersey and Coventry winger, who played for London Irish in last year's tournament, may now feature for an Aviva Premiership side.

The Dragons call up Matthew Pewtner, a Wales international in the shortened format who played 15 times on the wing for the region last season.

"It's a shame because Ed is such a big lover of sevens and is a very strong, fit and fast winger," said Wakley. "Unfortunately he has to miss out but on the flip side we have been able to bring in Pewts, who is a great talent and can stake a claim on a big stage."

The top two regions will qualify for finals day at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, August 8 when they will lock horns with six English clubs.

- Dragons squad: Sam Cross (captain), James Benjamin, James Thomas, Rhys Jones, Dorian Jones, Ollie Griffiths, Harri Keddie, Owen Davies, Elliot Frewen, Lewis Hudd, Jonny Lewis, Matthew Pewtner.

- Game 1 – Ospreys v Blues (7.15pm), game 2 – Dragons v Scarlets (7.40pm), game 3 – Dragons v Ospreys (8.10pm), game 4 – Blues v Scarlets (8.35pm), game 5 – Ospreys v Scarlets (9.05pm), game 6 – Dragons v Blues (9.30pm).

- Owen Williams' fundraiser at the sevens has been boosted by BT setting up an online donation point – mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/staystrongforows – in association with Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust.

The regions have already pledged to donate 50p from every ticket sold to help fund the Cardiff Blues and Wales centre's recovery from a spinal cord injury while wristbands are being sold in the colours of his region and club Aberdare.

For ticket information visit cardiffblues.com/tickets or call 02920 302030.

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