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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Rugby 7's Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Sevens stars of the future
Joe Rokocoko
Defences have struggled to contain Rokocoko
BBC Sport Online picks out four future stars of the game and sevens legend Eric Rush gives his insight into each player.


Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand): The new sensation of All Blacks rugby, the 19-year-old is already being hailed as the new Jonah Lomu.

He burst onto the international scene this season, his highlight arguably when he ran in two tries for victory in the Singapore round of the world sevens.

Despite comparisons to Lomu, the pair's style varies massively.

Rokocoko prefers to dance around the outside of players rather than bulldoze and could be the leading young player in the sevens in Manchester.

Eric Rush on Joe Rokocoko: "He's not too bad for a young fella. Actually he reminds me of Jonah in the way he has burst on to the sevens scene.

"He's fast, strong and the way he has improved from a very good player to a world-class player over the course of a couple of tournaments was sensational."


Ben Gollings (England): At 5ft 6ins, he is the small man of the England side but arguably the most improved player in Joe Lydon's squad.

Ben Gollings
Gollings has been instrumental for England

For club side Harlequins, he has been a regular feature at wing and full-back in the XVs game.

But he really made a name for himself at the Hong Kong Sevens, where, along with Henry Paul, he was the creative force in everything the English did.

He will be one of the major figures targeted by opposition defences.

Eric Rush on Ben Gollings: "He's the guy that springs to mind immediately for England and he's done well to stand out ahead of Henry Paul and Richard Haughton who have all impressed me.

"He's so quick and elusive that he's bound to be a threat in Manchester."


Brent Russell (South Africa): The Springbok was named player of the tournament at the Hong Kong Sevens.

Brent Russell
Russell - a future Springbok star

Described by England's Phil Greening as "absolutely phenomenal", he is fast and elusive and boasts superb handling skills.

The 22-year-old fly-half is only beginning to make his mark at domestic level.

Some have talked of his lack of size but, so far, it has failed to curtail his ability.

Eric Rush on Brent Russell: "He is an outstanding player and has played at the highest level in every tournament this season without fail.

"He single-handedly ripped us to pieces in the IRB Sevens in Wellington and will play out of his skin again this summer."


Tim Atkinson (Australia): Perhaps a little late in making his mark on the sevens stage but the 24-year-old has shown incredible form this year.

Tim Atkinson
Atkinson is dangerous with the ball

The ACT Brumbies centre has been Australia's key man in opening up opposition defences.

He regularly crosses the try line, is agile and skilful and basically has all the attributes of the sevens format.

He is known as "weasel" by his team-mates.

Eric Rush on Tim Atkinson: "Alongside Australia's many youngsters, he has been the class act for me.

"His fitness and skill are unrivalled and he is always dangerous to us when he has the ball."

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