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PUPS BARK WORSE THAN SHARKS BITE West Country Sevens had a very different

feel to it after the warm weather of 2010. Heavy rain over Friday night became patchy and faded out during the morning. A strong wind dried the ground out quickly but the early wet and greasy conditions heavily affected the quality and outcome of the first round of matches. Guest sides Tsunami Castaways and Shamrock Warriors made bright starts against Olorun Sharks and Apache, whilst Les Bleus returning for a second year struggled with ball control to go down to Raging Bull Ronin. White Hart Marauders came back from 2 down to stop Kamikaze recording their first win of the series. Samurai Barracudas struggled to a win against the warriors whilst the Army comprehensively disposed of the Sharks. HFW Wailers were then victors against Ronin, whilst still-developing Marauders were heavily defeated by an in form Gilberts Pups. Big wins for the Army and Gilberts Pups against Sharks and Kamikaze respectively, ensured their comfortable progression into the Cup but a win by Les Bleus over the Wailers meant that Ronin lost out on points, whilst Apache’s shock heavy defeat of a much changed Samurai side by 5 tries to 2 condemned them to their first experience of Plate action. The quarter finals continued to produce

surprises as first of all Apache defeated Marauders by 4 tries to 3 with an enjoyable display of open running by both sides. Wailers lost out to a determined Sharks side in similar fashion, Pups scraped past a disappointed Warriors side by the single score of the match then the Army were

bullied into mistakes by Les Bleu who made up the last semi finalists. In the Plate semis, predictably a Samurai backlash clinically disposed of Kamikaze whilst the closest contest of the day so far saw Ronin reach the final at Castaway’s expense by the difference of one conversion. The Cup semi finals produced two very

different games as first Sharks went through in a very close encounter with Apache full of cut and thrust by 4 tries to 3. At a critical moment near the end trailing by one score but looking threatening, Apache lost a player through injury and having used all their subs, played the remaining time with six players. Afterwards and unexpectedly, Les Bleus collapsed in the face of rampant Pups exploitation of space and let in 7 tries without reply. By now the weather could not be used as an excuse. In the plate final whether Samurai had finally

clicked or Ronin had shot their bolt the result was possibly the most one sided match so far as last year’s Series Winners found time and space to race in 12 tries for a 68-5 victory. The cup final undoubtedly produced the best match of this tournament though. Pups and Sharks produced an incident filled finale full of great tries but also excellent defensive lines with no certainty as to which side would prevail and in fact they both finished on 26 points resulting in sudden death extra time. It was the Pups who finally scored the “Golden Try” and collected their first major trophy in the Series, thanks in part to Ian Clarke who scored a hat-trick. The real success of the West Country Sevens was that the results had thrown the Series competition wide open.


Newquay opened to the best of British

summer weather; blue skies, a hot sun and a cooling breeze. Three promising guest sides took their places in the line up, North Wales exiles, winner of Caldy, West Country Cavaliers with a couple of former national level sprinters in Dan Cousins and Ono Jatto to give them pace, and Brazil whose coach, Martin Shusterman, had brought them over “to compete to see what level we are at”, with Rio in mind in 5 years. Middlesex would be next on their itinerary. This was also the case for Samurai who had brought down a much changed and improved international side with three Fiji and 2 New Zealand Internationals joining the core of their National Series squad, albeit jet-lagged from Thursday’s arrival. White Hart Marauders and HFW Wailers were perhaps stronger in depth, with Esher gasmen Sam Edgeley and Gabe Hills providing the pace for the Eversley based outfit whilst the North East team had added David Akinluyi and later on Tyson Lewis. The Army continued to be short of key experienced players such as Vessels and Lee due to soldiering, but were essentially the same squad as the previous games. Gilbert Pups, Apache and Olorun Sharks were fielding familiar faces whilst Raging Bull Ronin were affected by players on holiday and Kamikaze had out their weakest squad of the series. West Country results had created the prospect

of an intriguing finale. Only 10 points separated the top 5 sides so it was not just about who won but at what point others were eliminated. The group stages produced in the main very clear cut results putting Ronin and Kamikaze, the Series bottom sides, along with two of the guest sides, Cavallies and Exiles, into the Plate. The exceptions to this were; both the Brazil games (firstly struggling to get going before winning against a determined Ronin before

40 / / Issue 4

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