Ea­gles aim to Star in cap­i­tal tour­na­ment

The Chronicle - - Rugby Union -

NEW­CAS­TLE Ea­gles take a break from BBL Cham­pi­onship ac­tion this week­end to take part in the An­nual All-Stars Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment in Lon­don, writes JEFF KING.

The Ea­gles are look­ing to go one bet­ter than last year at the Cop­per Box Arena, when they fin­ished run­ners-up to in­au­gu­ral cham­pi­ons Lon­don Lions

The com­pe­ti­tion is the sport’s equiv­a­lent of cricket’s T20 with 12-minute run­ning-clock games, a five-point shoot­ing line and a golden buzzer which when pushed in­side the first ten min­utes of a game dou­bles any points you score in the next two min­utes.

It’s a chal­lenge for all in­volved on the court and those run­ning things on the side lines.

It re­lies on play­ers be­ing switched on from the start - and Ea­gles’ shoot­ing for­ward Kai Wil­liams is look­ing for­ward to his sec­ond tilt at land­ing the All-Stars crown as his side be­gins its cam­paign against Glas­gow Rocks.

He said: “It’s a unique event and I think it’s good for the fans to have so many of the league in one venue in one af­ter­noon. It’s a very cool op­por­tu­nity for us to pro­mote our league and the dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties and lev­els of play­ers in our league.”

“It’s a strange event to be hav­ing a few weeks into the sea­son but it gives us a chance to play to­gether in a dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment and bond and gel on and off the court.

“I see it as a pos­i­tive, it’s just a bit dif­fer­ent and kind of weird to get used to but for bas­ket­ball it’s a pos­i­tive.”

The Ea­gles go in to the event in great form and full of con­fi­dence.

In some eyes they might even be one of the favourites but Wil­liams is not so sure.

He added: “Ev­ery­body’s feel­ing good and we’ve got off to a good start but to be hon­est I don’t think it mat­ters how well you’ve been play­ing in the league be­cause of the dif­fer­ent rules.

“It re­ally de­pends who adapts the quick­est and cap­i­talises on things like the golden buzzer which can re­ally flip a game.

“Ev­ery­body com­pet­ing should have con­fi­dence go­ing in to the tour­na­ment with the way the rules are. I don’t think you can say one team’s an un­der­dog or any­one’s heav­ily favoured.

“I hon­estly think any­one can win any game in any given 12 min­utes with these types of rules.

“I’m just look­ing for­ward to be­ing out there with the guys and any way I can con­tribute and help the team in the 12 min­utes or how­ever long I play then I will.”

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