Evans in Sevens Heaven
A first-year student at Swansea University has received a surprise call-up to train with the Wales Sevens squad.
Swansea-born Dave Evans, 19, is taking two weeks off from studying for his Criminology degree to tour with the squad to New Zealand and the USA, where he will experience his first international tournament, the IRB Sevens World Series.
His inclusion as the thirteenth player in the 12-man squad means that he will train and travel with the group, and will be on hand to step into the breach in case of injury.
Dave, who plays on the wing, sparkled at Dunvant Rugby Club and scored four tries on his debut appearance for the University’s first team.
He has represented the Ospreys Under 20s in the WRU Reebok Regional Championship this season, and has just signed for Principality Premiership leaders Neath Rugby.
Dave is now training at the Ospreys’ Academy, which has produced Welsh internationals James Hook and Alun-Wyn Jones, also a student at Swansea University.
Joining the Wales Sevens squad is Dave’s first taste of international rugby. He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity. I never dreamed of being involved at this level and I’m determined to enjoy every minute of the experience.”
Dave’s performances at the Cwmtawe Sevens in August 2007 brought him to the attention of one of the UK’s best-known invitation sides, the Samurai Sevens, and the Wales Sevens Management.
He went on to play a key role in the Samurai squad that won the USA Sevens in New York in November 2007 and, in early January this year, Dave received a call from the WRU, inviting him to train with the squad for the forthcoming tournaments in New Zealand and the USA.
“It was such a shock, a real bolt out of the blue,” said Dave “In fact, once I’d put the phone down I had to call the WRU back straight away to make sure that I’d understood everything correctly.
“It’s great to be invited to play at a higher level, and training with the guys at the Vale of Glamorgan is giving me invaluable experience. Mind you, I’ve had 10 training sessions this week, with Neath, the Academy and the WRU, so it’s been pretty intense.”
In a statement on the WRU’s website, Sevens Coach Gareth Baber said: “Dave Evans stood out at the Cwmtawe Sevens and has shown lightning pace for Dunvant and in Sevens training this season. We want to take him away with us to expose him to the international Sevens environment.
“Sevens develops skills and techniques that help players develop for the fifteen-a-side game. We constantly see this with the young players we take to tournaments and this is another example of that.”
Dave will be travelling with the squad to New Zealand for matches against Fiji, England and the Cook Islands on February 1 and 2, which means that he won’t be able to watch Wales’ Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham.
“I can’t remember the last time I missed a Wales v England match, but it is such a small price to pay for the privilege of being a part of the Wales Sevens,” added Dave.
The 12-man squad, which includes Swansea University graduates Richie Pugh (BSc Sports Science, 2005) and Tal Selley (BSc Computer Science, 2001), will then move on to San Diego, California, to face New Zealand, Scotland and France on February 9 and 10.
For further information about the WRU Sevens, please visit the WRU website.For further information about the School of Human Sciences at Swansea University visit the School's website.
The Wales Sevens Squad for New Zealand and USA comprises Jonathan Edwards (Scarlets, captain), Richie Pugh (Cardiff), Dafydd Hewitt (Blues), James Harris (Dragons), Lee Williams (Scarlets), Robert Lewis (Dragons), Aled Thomas (Dragons) Alec Jenkins (Scarlets), Tal Selley (Blues), Nick Wakely (Newport, San Diego only), Lee Beach (Neath, Wellington only), Lewis Evans (Dragons), James Lewis (Dragons).