Wales excited to defend RWC Sevens title

(IRB.COM) Friday 1 February 2013  
 Wales excited to defend RWC Sevens title
Richie Pugh and Lee Williams are the only two members of the RWC Sevens winning squad in the current Wales side

In 2009, 80-1 outsiders Wales stunned the world of Sevens by winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai.

Having defeated one of the favourites New Zealand in the quarter final, Paul John's side went on to beat Samoa and  Argentina to record history.

However, as the Welsh prepare to defend their crown in Moscow this June, only two members remain in the side competing at the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in New Zealand - Richie Pugh and Lee Williams.

"We surprised everyone by winning in Dubai," said Pugh. "And it is really quite exciting to be heading to Moscow as defending champions.

"I remember glimpses here and there, but I talk to Lee who is the other member still in the squad and he seems to remember every second.

"I remember Aled Thomas scoring the try, and then nothing until captain Lee Beach kicking the ball into touch and then we were jumping all over each other celebrating.

"I was overcome with a lot of emotion, I didn't know where to look, what to do. We were picking each other up, screaming, it was just one of those times you never thought would happen, it was just unbelievable."

According to Pugh it was actually a victory at the 2009 New Zealand Sevens that acted as a catalyst for their victory one month later.

"The confidence was key for us. We got that four weeks earlier when we beat New Zealand in Wellington, so when we drew them in the Cup quarters in Dubai we knew we could win again and we did.

"Then we took that on to Samoa and Argentina, so it was just one of those beliefs we had in ourselves that we could do it once we drew New Zealand."

This season Wales are currently eighth in the overall standings, but despite a disappointing opening campaign in Australia, have won the Plate in both Dubai and South Africa, beating one of this year's favourites Fiji en route to both.

"We know we have to improve and keep performing if we want to challenge again," admitted Pugh.

"But we have shown signs of being able to do that and competing with the best. We still haven't made a Cup final since, but we have a new bunch of boys and are really looking forward to it."