Did Kiwi newcomer Declan O'Donnell make the squad?
Article courtesy of RugbyOffload.com
New Zealand heads in to the London Sevens with a 13 point advantage over the English with Samoa and South Africa in hot pursuit with two tournaments left in the series. With the 2010/11 series well shaken out, we thought we'd name our roster for a fantasy IRB Sevens Series All-Star squad.
So who made the cut? Who got left out?
DJ FORBES - New Zealand
A veteran player who is as strong and tough as he is experienced. He captains New Zealand under the ever watchful eye of coach Gordon Tietjens so his fitness is kept well in check. He's incredibly effective at the ruck and a constant nuisance to the attacking team.
ZACH TEST - USA
The former University of Oregon football player has made a name for himself this year on the series, finding himself in good company with Kenya's Collins Injera and England's Dan Norton at 20 tries apiece. Test is superb under the high ball and shines at the kick-off.
ALAFOTI FAOSILIVA - Samoa
The gentle giant, quiet and humble off the field but a pure monster of a player on the pitch. He is deceptively quick for his position and has excellent hands and footwork. He's not quite as experienced as fellow prop DJ Forbes, but he's faster and sometimes that makes the difference.
BEN GOLLINGS - ENGLAND
We've got Ben Gollings playing out of position at scrumhalf but we're confident he could manage the shift. Considered to be an elder in the young man's game of sevens, Gollings is about as experienced and skillful as they come. He is the all time points leader in international sevens. He is fast, very fast, but he's also known for being one of the fittest men on the field and he picks apart teams in the second half.
CECIL AFRIKA - South Africa
Breakout player of the year? Possibly. The 23 year old has dangerous pace and a step that leaves even some of the best defenders staring at a clean pair of heels. He's become more confident in his positional kicking and he's finding success using the chip-n-chase. A very fun player to watch, he dismantled teams at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas to help lead the South Africans to the cup final.
DECLAN O'DONNELL - New Zealand
It seems we watched a future All Black emerge right in front of eyes when 20 year old Declan O'Donnell stormed on to the sevens scene this year. He is simply fun to watch. He has that perfect balance of power and speed and can run around you or through you. Aggressive and shifty, that's a good combination to have on your side. He carried New Zealand through the Wellington Sevens notching ten tries on the weekend.
DAN NORTON - England
Here's an easy one. Dan Norton is incredibly fast. That's a desirable skill to have in a game rooted in player pace. He's the shiftiest player on our all-star squad with an elusive side step and a nose for the tryline as he approaches the top of the table with 20 tries in the series.