Warriors favourites to defend crown
8:00am Friday 24th August 2012 in Sport
AFTER yet another successful season of sevens rugby, the Carmarthen Warriors – a side made up largely of players from the Towy Valley – will be the favourites to win this Sunday’s Aberaeron Sevens, writes Huw S Thomas.
The invitation side, under the guidance of former Llandovery Konica Minolta Cup-winning skipper Arwel Davies, won the top-quality Windsor Sevens, where a try from Gareth Walters beat the Apaches right at the death. They also won the Manchester Open, lost narrowly in the final of the Olney Sevens and also featured prominently at the Richmond and Bath Sevens.
They then carried off the Plate at the Cwmtawe 7s when after defeat to the outstanding British Army, they edged home in two thrillers to claim the £1,000 prize.
Chris Banfield (Carmarthen Quins) was in the Great Britain squad that won the World University Sevens, and with players such as Richard Carter and Ricky Thomas (both Aberavon) and the exciting Llandovery pair of Jack Roberts and Lee Rees in line for selection, they will be strongly fancied.
The Warriors will attempt to win the Aberaeron Sevens for a fifth time in six years. Last year they beat Caerphilly based Y Baabariad 47-15 in the final.
Captain Davies has gathered together a strong squad for this weekend.
“We hope to crown a great season with a win at a tournament that has always been a favourite of ours, but know we will have to be on the top of our form to fend off some very strong challengers,” he said.
“Bargoed, who beat us in 2010, Bro Morgannwg Old Boys and the well-organised Daionic Crusaders will be particularly hard to beat in a very competitive field.”
The Warriors’ development team – the Flamingoes – could also feature in the latter stages as could newcomers Portishead RFC from near Bristol and Aberystwyth, who return to Aberaeron after a few years absence.
There will be five other tournaments at the Festival of Rugby sevens spread over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Festival starts with U9s, U11s, U13s and U15s tournaments on Friday, followed by a Youth U19s competition on Saturday when Carmarthen Athletic will be the team to beat.
For the open on Sunday, play starts at 11am with the main final at 6.40pm.