Jevon Groves: Commonwealth Games can be springboard for Wales' sevens stars

Penarth Times: Argus-Mark   24-11-12
Wales v New Zealand All Blacks
Aaron Shingler is tackled by Aaron Cruden (6793912) Argus-Mark 24-11-12 Wales v New Zealand All Blacks Aaron Shingler is tackled by Aaron Cruden (6793912)

JEVON Groves hopes his young Wales sevens teammates will follow in the footsteps of international stars after impressing at the Commonwealth Games, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 26-year-old, who has signed a national sevens contract after spending the last five seasons with Newport Gwent Dragons, was captain in Delhi four years ago.

Wales were knocked out in the quarter-finals by New Zealand, whose star-studded side went on to maintain their perfect golden Commonwealth Games record.

Groves said: "There were some great sides in Delhi and players who have gone on to big things – New Zealand had Ben Smith, Liam Messam and Hosea Gear playing for them.

"With our team at that time we had Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Alex Cuthbert, Lloyd Williams – what's to say that the boys in our squad now can't make the step up to Test rugby in the next four years?"

Wales did not enjoy the best of years on the IRB Sevens World Series and have slipped to 11th in the rankings.

The only big guns that are not at the Commonwealth Games are France, Fiji and Argentina but Groves believes Wales can head back from Glasgow as medallists.

"It's a massive tournament, a great spectacle and something that all the boys are looking forward to," he said.

"Anyone can beat anyone in sevens and that means we cannot afford to take any side lightly, some of these teams don't play in regular tournaments and put everything into the Commonwealth Games.

"We've got Papua New Guinea and Malaysia and have to focus on them before it steps up against Samoa and the quarter-finals on the second day.

"Our target is to beat the top nations and we believe we have the ability to do that, but we need to make sure we put in the performances in the group games first."

Wales play their Pool C encounters with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa at Ibrox on Saturday, July 26 before the knockout stages the following day.

Wales Sevens Commonwealth Games squad: Adam Thomas (captain - Cardiff Blues), Craig Price (Scarlets), Iolo Evans (Carmarthen Quins), James Davies (Scarlets), Jevon Groves (Cardiff Blues), Luke Treharne (Exeter University), Lee Williams (Carmarthen Quins), Gareth Davies (Cardiff Blues), Will Harries (unattached), Gareth Owen (Scarlets), Luke Morgan (Bridgend), Alex Webber (Pontypridd).

- South Africa will not be calling on Springboks Bryan Habana and Schalk Brits for the tournament. The pair play for Toulon and Saracens respectively and the Top 14 and Aviva Premiership have prevented their clubs from releasing them.

Unlike the forthcoming World Sevens Series, the competition is not covered by the International Rugby Board's regulation 9 which forces teams to release their talent if called up for internation duty.

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