Players from all over the world descended on the Central Coast to take part in Australia’s premier Sevens tournament kicking off on Friday.
Outside of the world series, the UON (University of Newcastle) Central Coast Sevens is the highlight of the calendar for players, both men and women, striving to crack into their national sides.
The tournament boasts a mixture of experienced players looking to gain some match fitness ahead of the world series, and young talent eager to test themselves against some of the best players in the world.
The Aussie Thunderbolts in particular, have picked a squad littered with talent. Former Waratah’s forward Pat McCutcheon will partner with Sam Myers upfront, while Shannon Walker provides the out wide needed to navigate a tough Pool C.
New Zealand’s Rangatua from Pool C has also returned to the tournament with a strong side. Excited about the opportunity to test himself against some quality opposition is 22-year-old Rangataua flyer, Sam Livingston.
“I’m pumped,” he told the The Newsroom. “Not only do we get to travel to Sydney, but to run up against guys that have top level experience, I can’t imagine any better way to test myself. I am nervous, obviously, but really excited.”
Livingston comes into the tournament after winning an Auckland club sevens tournament with local club Suburbs. He was a constant threat throughout the tournament with the ball in hand, and is hoping to carry some of that form over to the Central Coast.
“Last week was a good hit out and a great result for us, but I know I will have to step up big time to keep pace with some of the sides over here [Central Coast], especially the boys from Red Rock,” he said.
Red Rock is a Fijian team also in Pool C, and is thought to be the team to beat this year.
“Sevens just seems to come naturally to the Fijians and they play such an exciting brand of footy. It is going to be end-to-end stuff all weekend and I can’t wait to get amongst it,” said Livingston.
The Aussie Thunderbolts will meet Redrock in their first match on Friday to start the tournament. – Jackson Thomas
Top photo of 2014’s tournament winners from UON Central Coast Sevens’ official Facebook page.