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Stars To Watch In Singapore With One Eye On Rio

Stars To Watch In Singapore With One Eye On Rio
April 17
14:30 2016

We pick seven players to keep an eye on in Singapore. With not too long until squads are set to be announced for the Rio Olympic Games too, this could be another chance to cement their places in their head coach’s plans for the sports debut in Rio in August.

Danny Barrett (USA): The human wrecking ball is possibly one of the most spoken about players after ‘that’ run in Hong Kong last weekend. But for those that know sevens that is Barrett’s trademark and he’s been doing that since he made his debut in 2014. He has more to his game though and is an integral part of Mike Friday’s forward trio, freeing up space for the likes of Perry Baker.

Osea Kolinisau (Fiji): The most capped Fijian sevens player of all-time Kolinisau makes his 50th appearance yesterday which is a fantastic achievement. Under Ben Ryan, who has callled Kolinisau “the best captain I have had”, the Fijian has risen to new heights and led Fiji to just their second series title last season, and three Cup titles this season already in the defence of that. Surely the first name on Ryan’s Rio squad, don’t be surprised to see Kolinisau there or there abouts this weekend as the defending champions in Singapore – albeit of 10 years.

Collins Injera (Kenya): A surprisingly quiet weekend in Hong Kong, Injera is still eight tries off breaking Santiago Gomez Cora’s try-scoring record of 230. Not one to be quiet for too long, Injera could burst back into life as he hunts the record down this season. Many thought it would be broken here in Singapore but that would take some doing, although a few tries would set him up nicely to do that in London where he famously signed the camera last year on scoring his 200th.

Virimi Vakatawa (France): Back in the French squad after his appearances in the Six Nations and it’s like he’s never been away. Vakatawa has come back stronger if anything but slotted straight back into the side and helped give them another dimension last week in Hong Kong. He’s just two tries away from 50 which is some doing in his 14 events so far.

Liam Messam (New Zealand): In the absence of Scott Curry, Tim Mikkelson and DJ Forbes, the All Blacks Sevens’ captain’s armband has been handed to Messam. It will take some doing to lift the Singapore trophy as he did in 2005, but never underestimate Sir Gordon Tietjens’ side with Messam ably assisted in the forwards by good friend Sonny Bill Williams, and the likes of Gillies Kaka and Kurt Baker making the backs tick.

Javier Ortega Desio (Argentina): A Rugby World Cup 2015 star who has joined back up with Santiago Gomez Cora’s Los Pumas. 15 tries in 11 events he is no stranger to a sevens tournament, but could be one of a handful of names from the successful Argentina side that reached the semi-finals at RWC 2015 to make the return to sevens in time for the Rio Olympic Games on South American soil.

James Rodwell (England): Heading into a record 69th consecutive tournament it will be interesting to see how Rodwell performs, especially having been named captain in the absence of the rested Tom Mitchell and Phil Burgess. Don’t expect too many fireworks, but it’s a great story to follow with undoubtedly some form of celebration due.

World Rugby

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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