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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Rugby 7's Monday, 15 July, 2002, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Forster named Welsh skipper
Gareth Thomas has been included in the Wales Sevens squad
Gareth Thomas has plenty of senior experience

Wales have named a strong 12-man squad for the rugby union sevens at the Commonwealth Games.

The selectors have decided to mix seasoned campaigners and promising youngsters in their bid to bring home a medal.

The likes of Rob Howley, Gareth Thomas, Dafydd James and Arwel Thomas provide the experience, while Gareth Gravell, Craig Richards, Gareth Williams and Emyr Lewis will provide the young legs.

open quote
We are determined to make all of Wales proud of us
end quote
Wales skipper Jason Forster

The squad will be led by Newport flanker Jason Forster and also includes Pontypridd duo Gareth Baber and Gareth Wyatt, plus Swansea flier Matthew Robinson.

And Wales have been given an early chance to avenge their summer Test defeats in South Africa following the draw for the tournament.

The two countries have been pooled with Tonga and Sri Lanka for the competition in Manchester on 2-4 August.

Manager David Rees is hopeful of a good performance, saying: "Provided we play to our potential, we can certainly challenge to be among the medals. We are all in a positive frame of mind."

Skipper Forster said he was delighted to be leading such a strong squad.

"It is a wonderful opportunity for all of us lucky enough to be selected," he said. "We are determined to play well, enjoy ourselves and make all of Wales proud of us.

"The Commonwealth Games will provide a massive opportunity that we shouldn't let slip," he said.

"With the progress we've shown this season, then I think the semi-finals are not beyond us."


Wales squad: Jason Forster (Newport, capt); Gareth Baber (Pontypridd), Gareth Gravell (Newport), Rob Howley (London Wasps), Dafydd James (Bridgend); Emyr Lewis (Pontypridd), Craig Richards (Bridgend); Matthew Robinson (Swansea), Arwel Thomas (Swansea), Gareth Thomas (Bridgend), Gareth Williams (Llanelli), Gareth Wyatt (Pontypridd)


Commonwealth Games sevens draw & seeding

Pool A
New Zealand
Scotland
Canada
Niue

Pool B
South Africa
Wales
Tonga
Sri Lanka

Pool C
England
Samoa
Cook Islands
Kenya

Pool D
Fiji
Australia
Malaysia
Trinidad & Tobago


Seeds:
1. New Zealand
2. South Africa
3. England
4. Fiji
5. Australia
6. Samoa
7. Wales
8. Scotland
9. Canada
10. Tonga
11. Cook Islands
12. Malaysia
13. Trinidad & Tobago
14. Kenya
15. Sri Lanka
16 Niue Islands

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 ON THIS STORY
Wales coach Colin Hillman
"We had to make the most of the sevens talent available"
Wales squad member Rob Howley
"Having missed out in 1998, I was keen to play"
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