Sevens stars to watch in Paris

WE PICK SEVEN PLAY­ERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON AT THIS WEEK­END’S PARIS SEVENS, PLAY­ERS WHO ARE LIKELY TO BE PUTTING THEIR HANDS UP FOR SE­LEC­TION AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN AU­GUST.

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Henry Hutchi­son (Aus­tralia) -

This 19-year-old has stormed onto the se­ries in the tour­na­ments he has played in. A de­but in Cape Town may not have given much away, but im­pres­sive per­for­mances in Syd­ney, Las Ve­gas and Vancouver where he helped Aus­tralia to two sec­ond-places fin­ishes and one third has left ‘King Henry’ on the lips of many pundits and fans. With Nick Cum­mins also in the side there could be an in­ter­est­ing friendly duel be­tween the more ex­pe­ri­enced ‘Honey Badger’ and Hutchi­son in the backs as they look to ce­ment places in the Aus­tralian Olympic squad.

Akira Ioane, (New Zealand)

Named in the dream team in both tour­na­ments he has played in, Ioane was one of the stand­out play­ers in both Welling­ton and Syd­ney where he not only col­lected back to back Cup ti­tles, but also the Player of the Fi­nal in both. Along­side his younger brother Rieko, New Zealand will wel­come their re­turn with one eye on Rio.

Rosko Spec­man, (South Africa)

Hav­ing last ap­peared in Vancouver, Spec­man has been in in­spired form for South Africa this sea­son and will be aim­ing to add to his ca­reer try tally of 20 as well as cre­at­ing space for ‘bul­let train’ Se­abelo Se­natla. The Bl­itzboks have not won a se­ries ti­tle since 2009 and if they are to close the gap on Fiji, cur­rently eight points, ahead. Spec­man will be key to that hap­pen­ing and will be hop­ing to re­cap­ture the form he showed in Welling­ton where he won the DHL Im­pact Player award.

Lu­cas Duque, (Brazil) Jo­sua Tuisova, (Fiji)

Tuisova has scored eight tries for Toulon this sea­son so far, leav­ing him joint third in the Top 14 try scor­ing charts, and re­turns to the Fiji sevens side along­side a few other France­based play­ers. Tuisova has played just once be­fore for Fiji, but the likes of Samisoni Viriviri and Waisea Nay­a­calevu should also be kept an eye on. Viriviri has scored 100 tries in 23 tour­na­ments so far, and with Nay­a­calevu ex­pect some fire­works from th­ese guys.

The cap­tain of the Olympic hosts, and brother of Moises, Duque is al­ways one to watch. De­spite his small stature, Lu­cas has speed and skills aplenty as we have seen when Brazil have played on the se­ries. Re­cently fa­mous for se­cur­ing Brazil’s his­toric win over USA in 15s, and also show­cas­ing a sen­sa­tional off­load against Chile. He is key to Brazil’s hopes in Paris and at the Olympic Games.

San­ti­ago Cordero, (Ar­gentina)

A star of Rugby World Cup 2015, Cordero makes his re­turn to the Ar­gentina sevens side this week­end in Paris hav­ing made four pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ances.

Scorer of 15 tries in those events, coach San­ti­ago Gomez Cora will be hop­ing Cordero brings the form he showed at RWC 2015 and with the Jaguares in this year’s Su­per Rugby to the field. Along­side Ma­tias Moroni, an­other player re­turn­ing to sevens hav­ing been part of Ar­gentina’s RWC squad, the duo could give Gomez Cora some se­lec­tion headaches head­ing to Rio.

Julien Can­de­lon, (France)

One of the older guys on the cir­cuit, but still one of the best. Can­de­lon will be 36 when Rio comes around but shows no sign of slow­ing down. He scored his 100th try in Vancouver, and will be aim­ing to put on his best dis­play in front of the home crowd in Paris. With a lot of con­sis­tency in the French team, Can­de­lon is ably as­sisted by the likes of cap­tain Terry Bouhraoua and Vir­im­iVakatawa.

Henry Hutchi­son Akira Ioane Rosko Spec­man Jo­sua Tuisova Lu­cas Duque San­ti­ago Cordero Julien Can­de­lon

Source: World Rugby

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