The HSBC Sevens World Series for 2012/2013 is all wrapped up, and with the conclusion of the tournament comes a new feature, the Dream Team, presented by the IRB.
The following seven players were chosen for outstanding performances in their respective roles, and would be seen as the ultimate sevens team.
The team itself was selected by the various broadcast commentators, who observed and kept a close eye on the actions throughout the season.
The first Dream Team features representatives from New Zealand, South Africa, Somoa, Fiji, Kenya and England.
The HSBC Sevens World Circuit Dream Team is as follow:
1. Afa Aiono – Samoa
“For a long time the former Samoan Under 20 captain lived in the shadows of Ofisa Treviranus, Alafoti Faosiliva and Simaika Mikaele, but this season Aiono has captained the team and led by example with a typically physical display.”
2. Frankie Horne – South Africa
“When Horne won selection for his 50th consecutive IRB Sevens tournament in London – a feat which will surely never be repeated – injured skipper Kyle Brown summed up Horne as a man and a player, saying that he had ‘very little sense of self-preservation at tournament time and will leave it all out there for the jersey and the men around him’. A colossal figure for South African Sevens, this season, in London and for the 49 tournaments before that.”
3. Tim Mikkelson – New Zealand
“It is fitting that Mikkelson of all people should be in this side because his staggering consistency, professionalism and overall qualities as a leading Sevens player epitomise New Zealand. A wing in 15s, Mikkelson operates selflessly in the scrum in Sevens and has led the team impeccably in DJ Forbes’ injury-enforced absence. A popular tourist, he has also lifted the HSBC Sevens World Series trophy this weekend.”
4. Joji Ragamate – Fiji
“Ragamate played last season for Fiji but has really burst onto the stage this year with some brilliant match-winning performances. His was the telling contribution as the Fijians won the first Cup title of the season the Gold Coast and he has carried on in similar vein, scoring and making tries as Serevi did before him.”
5. Gillies Kaka – New Zealand
“Kaka’s inclusion in this side underlines just how far he has come in a short space of time. Not involved initially this Series, his impact under coach Gordon Tietjens has been amazing. Tietjens must now hope that he stays in the Sevens fold because he looks like a player he can build a team around for years to come.”
6. Willie Ambaka – Kenya
“Dubbed ‘Kenya’s Lomu’, Ambaka was in the forwards when Mike Friday arrived as head coach and his decision to move the gentle giant into the centre and wing positions has proved inspired. His was the telling performance when Kenya reached the Cup final in Wellington, beating New Zealand in the semis, and he was also a big factor in the other three semi finals they reached this season. Massive breakthrough year.”
7. Dan Norton – England
“There were many contenders for the ‘flyer’ position in the team, among them South Africa’s Cornal Hendricks and Canada’s Sean Duke, but England’s Norton gets the nod. As a team they may not have had the best of seasons, but Norton’s workrate has seldom dipped. He has added more defensive quality to his game to match an almost unparalleled ability to beat mean on the outside, as well as working on his kicking game, which he has also used to good effect. The season’s top scorer by a distance.”