Four Debutants for Sharks @ North Dorset

Vice Captain, Toots Vakalutukali, has shaken off the injury that caused him to miss the semi final against Ponty Butchers last week
Seti Raumakita’s first outing this season will bring added physicality to the breakdown
Marcus Stevens had few opportunities at Swindon but will have learned from them
Vivian Wilmot started slowly at Swindon but improved as the tournament went on
Marika Lavelawa two tries against Bamboo in the opening match at Swindon
North Dorset’s Gillingham ground will be a far cry from 80,000 at Twickenham for Eldon Myers when he makes his Sharks debut
Sharks final pool match is against Bloxham Zebras who they beat at Keynsham last year

After a good opening performance at Slough Sevens followed by an improved one last week at Swindon Sevens, the Sharks travel to the North Dorset Sevens this Saturday with a squad showing six changes in the fifteen-man squad; including four players who will hope to make their Sharks debut.

The newcomers will be easily absorbed in to the core of the squad that is showing some stability and has an exciting feel about it.  Manoa Satala once more leads a team, which will be able to call on last week’s stand out players of Jordan Shuttleworth, Sevanaia Naulago and Toots Vakalutukali.  Vakalutukali will welcome the return of Ollie James as another player who can control the tempo of a game along with Seti Raumakita, who should bring needed physicality to the breakdown.

Tristan Trehan and Marika Lavelawa return, both having had good tournaments at Swindon.  Two other returnees are Vivian Wilmot and Marcus Stevens.  Marcus will be hoping for some more game time and is an abrasive player, strong over the ball, whilst Wilmot became more influential at Swindon after a shaky start and is a youngster whose development will be watched with interest.

Two of the four Shark’s debutants are not new to Navy Rugby followers. Kimi Kamikamica was a regular in the Navy side of 2011 before just failing to make the Inter Service cut.  His powerful running style should add another dimension and punch to the Shark’s game.  Alongside him will be the pace and elusive running of Eldon Myers whose debut for the U23s last November now seems a long time ago.  Since then he broke in to the Senior XV winning his first cap against the RAF and making a strong debut at the Army Navy Twickenham showpiece.  Though new to the Sharks jersey, Myers is an experienced sevens player and was a regular on the English tier one sevens circuit before he joined the Royal Navy.

The final two debutants have both come through the Royal Marines sevens system.  Sam Jones and Jo Nakavulevu are experienced sevens players who come highly recommended from Sharks vice captain Vakalutukali.  We will know more by Saturday evening.

The Sharks are in a pool that includes the Preseli BaaBaas, #TeamFish and the Bloxham Zebras.  The Zebras are known to the Sharks as the two sides met at last year’s West Country Sevens, with the Sharks easing to a 21-7 victory.  They will hope for the same result as they look to build on their performances over the summer.  The squad certainly has greater physicality than at the previous two tournaments but this will need to be harnessed effectively in defence where the team must generate and as importantly sustain the intensity of their play.  Improvements in these two areas along with the continued development of some of the more technical elements should give the Sharks the all-round Sevens game to be successful at North Dorset and give the coaching team of Billy May and Buinimasi Silivenusi some selection headaches before the final test at Harpenden’s National Pub Sevens in August.

The Sharks are at the North Dorset Sevens on Saturday 26 July 2014.  Their pool matches are scheduled as follows:

1020 v Preseli BaaBaa’s

1140 v #TeamFish

1300 v Bloxham Zebras

RN Sharks Squad @ North Dorset Sevens
M Satala (Capt), W Vakalutukali, M Lavelawa, S Naulago, T Pitts, V Wilmot, T Trehan, J Shuttleworth, M Stevens, O James, S Raumakita, E Myers, S Jones, J Nakavulevu, K Kamikamica

Future fixtures:
Harpenden National Pub Sevens, Sunday 24 August 2014

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Images by Alligin Photography / © G Ashton Jones