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Young Exiles Meet Sevens King Serevi

Young Exiles Meet Sevens King Serevi

The Exiles DHL Sevens team had a real treat at the Carrick Sevens tournament last weekend when they came up against Fiji’s Sevens king Waisale Serevi and beat him!

While the Exiles DHL Sevens coach Kevan Bell expected his younger players to move forward along their development pathway, through Sevens, he had not expected them to go up against Sevens maestro, Waisale Serevi.

In their first game at Carrick, on Sunday, the Irish Exiles faced Mels Exiles, an invitation side from Wales, who had recruited Serevi.

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However the presence of the Fijian inspired the Irish to play their best Sevens of the tournament and they ran out winners by 28-0.

The Manvik Premier event was run on a league basis with only experienced and well-drilled Sevens sides in the competition. So the young Exiles were continually tested.

In their second game the Exiles squandered at least three scoring opportunities on the try-line against the polished Wooden Spoon Sevens from England. Inexperience showed as the Exiles lost 24-10.

As they progressed through the competition some valuable lessons were learnt about running lines in attack and defending the inside shoulder when under attack.

Despite losing to the eventual winners, the Kooga Wailers, and the Newcastle Falcons Academy side, the Exiles DHL Sevens got to the final of the Plate against the Ulster President’s side.

The Ulster Presidents Sevens, coached by former Ireland international Jonny Bell, lined up against the Exiles with some familiar faces – Cillian Willis (Ulster and Ireland ‘A’), Timoci Nagusa (Ulster and Fiji), Mark McCrea (Ulster and Ireland ‘A’) were included as well as other members of the Ulster squad and the province’s Academy.

Fijian Nagusa had just too much pace for the Exiles and ran in two tries in quick succession. The Exiles, starved of ball, fought hard in defence but conceded another try.

However, in the second half, when they got some ball they ran in two tries of their own. Ulster came back with another try to win the Plate competition.
Coach Kevan Bell recognises that the Exiles Sevens squad is in a transitional phase and the primary reason for Sevens is the development of young players.

“When playing the shorter version of the game skill levels, be they in attack or defence, must be high and execution accurate,” he said.

“The physical confrontation at the breakdown is intense, with players being rucked off the ball if their body position is poor.”