Sevens rookie of the year nominees revealed

Date published: May 18 2016

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There are four players in the running for the Sevens rookie of the year award which will be announced after the Twickenham final on Saturday.

Bautista Ezcurra, Henry Hutchison, Regan Ware and Pheonix Hunapo-Nofoa have all been nominated based on their performances across the nine rounds in what has been their first season on the series.

To be eligible for the award players must have made their full sevens series debut during the current season, and the two previous winners are Ambrose Curtis (New Zealand) in 2014 and Jerry Tuwai (Fiji) who collected the award last year. Ahead of the 10th and final round, we take a look at the four nominees.

Bautista Ezcurra, Argentina: Ezcurra played at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy last year where he impressed before getting the call from Santiago Gomez Cora. He made his debut in Dubai and has scored eight tries and 97 points in the nine events. He has been an ever-present and it takes one hell of a player to be compared to players like Juan Martin Hernandez, but he looks every inch a future Puma. First he'll have his sights on Olympic success.

Pheonix Hunapo-Nofoa, Samoa: Despite missing Samoa's first Cup title since 2012 in Paris last weekend, Hunapo-Nofoa impressed in the first seven rounds having made his debut in Dubai. Scorer of 11 tries, the 21-year-old was in fine form, most notably in Vancouver where commentator Gareth Rees compared him to sevens legend Waisale Serevi and he helped his side to win the Plate. Synonymous with try celebrations, he may be remembered most for his celebration in Vancouver where he used the match ball to call his mum, or in Las Vegas where he also used the match ball but this time to take a selfie.

Henry Hutchison, Australia: King Henry, as commentator Sean Maloney dubbed him this season, has scored no fewer than 22 tries in only six events. That leaves him 11th on the current try-scoring list. He had possibly his best tournament on home soil in Sydney where he scored the match winner against England in the dying seconds of the quarter-final, and also scored twice in the 27-24 defeat to New Zealand in the final. The 19-year-old seems to have a bright future and it's been great to see him showcasing his talents in sevens.

Regan Ware, New Zealand: Ware is another who made his debut in Dubai and has since missed just one tournament. He's scored 15 tries for the All Blacks Sevens but it is his defence that has got most people talking. His tackle on Seabelo Senatla in the final of the HSBC Wellington Sevens helped give his side the ball and a shot at winning the match, which they took as Joe Webber scored the winning try to the delight of the home crowd.

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