Second five: The dark horses of the Wellington sevens

By Matiu Workman

Wales celebrate after taking out the Shield at last year's tournament. Photo / Getty
Wales celebrate after taking out the Shield at last year's tournament. Photo / Getty

Poised just beneath the top five contenders at this weekend's Wellington Sevens lie the dark horses. Five teams capable of turning an upset. Matiu Workman previews the underdogs.

Australia: 46 points, 6th
Coach: Mick O'Connor
Captain: Ed Jenkins
World Series titles: 0
World Championship wins: 0
Tournament wins: 5

Australia welcome back captain Ed Jenkins from a neck injury that saw him miss the Las Vegas leg. Finalists in the Gold Coast, the Australians are capable of progressing but have often been a step behind the big five. In Cameron Clark they possess a match-winner, and their defensive improvements make them one to watch.

See also:
Seven at the Sevens: Ones to watch
Seven at the Sevens: Reasons to watch
Wellington Sevens: What you need to know

Argentina: 43 points, 7th
Coach: Santiago Gomez-Cora
Captain: Nicolas Bruzzone
World Series titles: 0
World Championship wins: 0
Tournament wins: 2

Argentina's drop in form over the last few seasons has been a head-scratcher. Desfensively can be a little vulnerable but can make up for it with their pace. Argentina showed their potential with a semi-final spot in Port Elizabeth, but improving results under coach Santiago Gomez-Cora is the primary objective.

Kenya: 39 points, 8th
Coach: Paul Treu
Captain: Collins Injera
World Series titles: 0
World Championship wins: 0
Tournament wins: 0

The darlings of the Wellington Sevens, expect Kenya to get plenty of support once again in 2014. Led superbly by one of Sevens rugby's legends Collins Injera, what Kenya lack in speed they make up for in perseverance. A semi-final spot isn't out of their reach in Wellington.

France: 33 points, 9th
Coach: Frederic Pomarel
Captain: Vincent Deniau (injured)
World Series titles: 0
World championship wins: 0
Tournament wins: 1

France started well in Las Vegas before teetering off at the quarter-final phase. Like other teams around them, France have been hit by injury, the most notable being influential captain Vincent Deniau. Veteran Paul Albaladejo will shoulder much of the pressure on the devleoping team.

Wales: 32 points, 10th
Coach: Gareth Williams
Captain: Adam Thomas (injured)
World Series titles: 0
World championship wins: 1
Tournament wins: 0

It has been a baptism of fire for new Wales coach Gareth Williams. A growing list of injured players, including captain Adam Thomas, Chris Knight and James Davies. Wellington will be all about picking up as many points as possible for Wales despite their growing medical bill.

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 22 Aug 2014 06:19:15 Processing Time: 499ms