Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams has named two World Rugby Sevens Series debutants in his squad for next weekend’s Wellington leg.
James Botham, 18, and Elliot Frewen, 29, have shown impressive form to take their place in the squad. Cardiff Blues Academy player Botham is a former Wales U18 international, while Newport winger Frewen was named the 2016 Premiership Rugby 7s Player of the Series after his trophy-winning exploits with the Dragons.
Also returning to the squad is Dragons’ James Benjamin, who last featured for Wales Sevens in their Bowl-winning match against Australia in Twickenham last summer.
“These two new caps are part of the strategy to build depth moving towards next year’s Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens,” Williams told the Welsh Rugby Union’s website.
“James Botham’s selection supports the work we’re trying to do in developing players with regions. He’s a very promising players for Cardiff Blues. He’s trained and has earned his opportunity in Wellington.”
Frewen has previously featured for Wales on the European circuit, and Williams says he is pleased to see him getting his shot on the World Rugby Sevens Series.
“Elliot has got a really good pedigree on the invitational sevens series, and he’s been part of the development group [assistant coach] Richie Pugh set up at start of season. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him. He’s an exciting player, very elusive. Hopefully he’ll get the chance to showcase that in Wellington,” he said.
After a positive start to 2016/17, Williams says the aim is to continue to build on their early-season achievements, adding: “We’ve very much set ourselves long-term goals, but to start the way we did with semi and quarter-final finishes in Dubai and Cape Town was way ahead of expectations when you consider how young this group is.
“But next weekend is an excellent opportunity for us in New Zealand. We’ve had a good training block over Christmas and the New Year, which will hopefully be reflected on the pitch in Wellington.”
Wales have been drawn in Pool D in Wellington alongside Scotland, Canada and Russia.
Wales squad for Wellington Sevens
Owen Lane, Morgan Williams, Steffan Andrews, Elliot Frewen, Owen Jenkins, Tom Williams, Ethan Davies, Lloyd Evans, Adam Thomas, Sam Cross (c), James Botham, Ben Roach, James Benjamin, Matthew Owen