Wales add to growing silverware collection

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 April, 2006, 12:00am

PLATE'I don't think the union has had so many trophies in one season'

Four tournaments, four trophies. On their return to the IRB Sevens fold this season after a two-year absence, Wales have claimed silverware at all four tournaments they have contested.

After seeing off Portugal 31-0 and Canada 29-0 yesterday, the Welsh left enough in the tank to beat Kenya 15-5, adding the plate title to the bowls won in Dubai and George, and the plate title at the recent Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. It's the first silverware Wales have won at the Hong Kong Sevens.

'I don't think the union has had so many trophies in one season,' said Wales coach Dai Rees. 'It's been a fantastic end to a superb season and what a place to finish it off - Hong Kong.'

Kenya opened the scoring through Benjamin Ayimba. Rhodri McAtee levelled it just before half-time, and captain Gareth Chapman gave the Welsh a narrow 10-5 lead early in the second.

Under threat from a Kenya team with seemingly limitless stamina, Rees made substitutions. One of them - Aled Brew - scored in injury time to settle the contest.

'Kenya were a little bit stronger [than Canada and Portugal], and we were tired,' Rees said. 'It was a bit nip and tuck at one point and I thought we needed a couple of fresh legs. I made the substitution and Aled Brew sealed the game with that try in the corner.

'The atmosphere is superb and what an experience for these boys. The intensity of rugby sevens at the top level is unbelievable. It will only make them better players, which is fantastic for the game in Wales. It's been an outstanding tournament for us. We played six games and we won five of them.'

Try scorer Brew has got the Sevens bug, and says he aims to return for more of the same next year.

'It's an electric atmosphere,' he said. 'I hope I can come back next year. We're all pleased with the results. Hopefully the form will continue on into next year. We're playing well. I hope we can take it back to our clubs and show what we can do in XVs.'

The captain said the team had improved since their bowl win in Dubai last November.

'We've learned a lot since the first tournament,' Chapman said. 'It's a steep learning curve, and hopefully we can take that back to benefit the regions.'

'We were disappointed to lose to South Africa on Saturday. We thought we were a bit unlucky. But we've come away with the plate. It's been great for the boys, as we're a really young squad.'