Samurai put down early marker

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 11:43
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Defending champions at the George Sevens Premier League tournament, Samurai, put down an early marker ahead of this week's rescheduled event.

Defending champions at the George Sevens Premier League tournament, Samurai, put down an early marker ahead of this week's rescheduled event.

Samurai won the Punta del Este Sevens tournament in Uruguay at the weekend and will arrive in the Garden Route this week full of confidence - keen to add to their ever-growing trophy display.

The South African Sevens Academy side (coached and managed by former Springbok Sevens stalwart Marius Schoeman) won the South American tournament in their official green and gold kit, but now return to Outeniqua Park in their Samurai outfit - in which they also won the Dubai Sevens International Invitational tournament in December.

The defending champions will have to be at their best to sustain their five tournament winning streak at Outeniqua Park this weekend though, as regular IRB Sevens World Series contenders, Kenya, will also play in the event - schedule for Saturday (January 11) and Sunday (January 12).

The Kenyan national team, know as Shujaa, is now coached by former Springbok Sevens legend Paul Treu.

They will use this tournament as a final warm-up to the upcoming World Series tournaments in Las Vegas and Wellington, to be played late January and early February 2014.

Numerous regular East African stars will grace the Outeniqua Park pitch as Treu looks to fine-tune his side ahead of the international tournaments, including try-scoring aces like Humphrey Kayange, Oscar Ouma and Collins Injera.

A number of contracted Springbok Sevens players will play for the Samurai, but Player of the Tournament in Uruguay, Rosco Speckman, has been confirmed as a starter for cricketing franchise, The Unlimited Titans.

The Unlimited Titans will venture onto the rugby fields for the first time and with nationally acclaimed coach, Jimmy Stonehouse at the helm and Speckman on the wing can be considered real contenders.

Speckman could be equally devastating in the tournament that introduced Seabelo Senatla to the South African Sevens audience last year.

According to tournament promoter Willem Strauss the performance of some individual stars could be a real highlight of the tournament.

"We have some real stars of the Sevens code that will play in George this weekend," Strauss said.

"Fabian Juries [Kaizer Chiefs] is still our leading try-scorer in the world series, Speckman was sensational in Uruguay and local boy Warwick Gelant should be a catalyst for the Samurai," said Strauss.

"Add the strike power of the Kenyans, the pace of players like Danwell Demas [The Unlimited Titans], the guile of Springbok tourist and former Sevens player Earl Rose [Western Province] and the finishing ability of Alsuan Bock [Living Ball] and it becomes clear that this tournament will be very, very exciting to watch."

Kenya Shujaa has arrived in the Garden Route already and all teams will be in George by Wednesday ahead of the showpiece, Strauss confirmed.

"This will be a fantastic event to kick-start the rugby season for 2014 and we are confident that the Southern Cape rugby fans will attend in their numbers. This will be a try-fest to remember and a fantastic opportunity to see some of the best Sevens players in the world showing off their abilities."

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