Rugby Sevens starlet Perry Baker will undergo surgery after a collision with Tonga’s Tana Fotofili in the opening game at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series in Hamilton.
The American was left with a double fracture of his jaw which is expected to keep him out until early April.
His absence means the USA will be without one of their talisman for the next two legs of the Series events in Sydney this weekend and Las Vegas next month where the USA are the defending champions.
Mike Friday, the USA coach, insists the team will not rush Baker during his recovery.
“It was unfortunate for Perry and it was a tough tackle, legal but maybe reckless and the outcome is that Perry’s jaw was fractured in two places so he has returned home and will have surgery. We will then look at his recovery and there is an outside chance he could be ready for Hong Kong but we won’t push it.
“We will take time, let him get fit and then be able to unleash him on the World circuit very soon.”
Baker arrived back in the USA yesterday to see a surgeon as he looks to recuperate in time for the Hong Kong Sevens which start on April 5.
The two-time World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year passed a head injury assessment after the heavy hit in Hamilton. However, x-rays later revealed the broken jaw which forced the USA into sending him home to see a specialist.
The incident will add fuel to the on-going issue over protection for players in both sevens and the 15 man game with Fotofili only receiving a yellow card for his actions.
The USA reached the final of the Hamilton leg in spite of Bakers injury and were beaten by Fiji who have joined the Eagles at the top of the table heading to Sydney. Both teams have 57 points with New Zealand three behind.
Can Isles Be Stopped?!
We all know how good Carlin Isles is and he proved it this season but does he finally have competition?
Carlin Isles secured the Sevens Series top try-scorer accolade with 52 tries in the series but there could be a challenger for him next season.
After Australia signed sprinter Trae Williams for next season people wondered if he would overtake Isles as the fastest rugby player on the planet, however, Isles believes he is still faster, but could Williams potentially score more tries than the American?
Since Isle’s move from track to the pitch he has been almost unstoppable with ball in hand as he runs rings around the opposition but new-kid on the block Williams will make the switch with a background in rugby already under his belt.
Isles has already shown a reluctance to give up his crown of being the fastest player around but he may have another title to worry about now. Isles and the US finished second in this series and will hope to continue their impressive form in the sport and claim a series win soon.
Whatever happens it will be some clash to see the two speedsters compete for everything next time around.
Olympic Gold-Medal Winning Coach Isn’t Dead!
An Olympic gold-winning coach was reported to have died last night however; it appears as though this is not the case
Rugby Sevens coach Ben Ryan has taken to social media to clarify that he was in fact alive after a story broke claiming he had died.
Ryan, who lead Fiji to Olympic gold in the 2016 Rio games, was reported to have been run over by a Honda Civic in Toronto, later passing away in hospital. However, the 47-year-old isn’t even in the city let alone dead.
This is not the first time that Ryan has been subject to a fake news story regarding his apparent death as he was previously “killed in relation to a drug trafficking arrest”. Which wasn’t true either funnily enough.
Ryan took to Twitter to clarify everything and had a joke about the situation.
“Second time I’ve died via a fake news story. At least it isn’t the drug trafficking arrest the last one talked about. I’m nowhere Toronto though hear it’s a great spot, as long as you aren’t around the out of control Honda Civics,” he said.
This is the second time in a couple of weeks that a rugby star has apparently been killed by a Honda Civic in Toronto, as former Saracens star Jacques Burger was supposedly hit too.
Once again this wasn’t the case and Burger had a laugh at the latest victim of the Honda Civic.
“That Honda Civic is on a killing spree @benjaminryan,” he said.
Ryan is currently doing well with his book ‘Sevens Heaven’ being named both Sports Book of the Year and Heineken Rugby Book of the Year at the inaugural Telegraph Sports Book Awards.
While in the limelight for his book he is also on a mission to promote RugbyX, a new indoor version of rugby union with only five players per team.
World Rugby Sevens Series: Fiji go top with victory in penultimate round in London
An overview of all the action from the London round of the World Sevens Series
Fiji went two points clear of USA at the summit of the World Rugby Sevens standings, after winning in London for the second consecutive year.
The 3-time sevens world champions dismantled Australia with a runaway 43-7 victory in the final at Twickenham.
USA overcame France 31-14 in the bronze final to remain in touching distance of Fiji heading into the final round in Paris on June 1st.
New Zealand lost 19-14 to France in their cup quarter-final, but beat South Africa and Ireland to claim 5th place.
South Africa’s loss to the All Blacks condemned a disastrous second day; the ‘Blitzboks’ were beaten by Australia 29-22 in the cup quarter-finals before their failure in the 5th place semi-final.
The South African’s poor display offered England a slim chance of automatic Olympic qualification, but they were beaten 24-19 by Samoa in the challenge quarter-final.
A 40-21 victory against Spain in the 13th place semi-final gave the home crowd a brief lift, but a 29-14 loss to Japan in the final capped a disappointing showing.
There is the reprieve of a European qualifying tournament in July for England, which offers them a second chance of securing Great Britain a place at Tokyo 2020.
Wales edged closer to a top 14 finish in the series with a vital 17-0 victory over fellow relegation candidates Japan.
The team that finishes 15th – the lowest core team – will be relegated for 2019-20.
Richie Pugh’s side are currently 13th in the standings, and opened up a three point gap over nearest challengers Kenya.
“We’ve picked up the most points out of all the bottom three teams and the performances within those results have given us a lot to be please about,” Pugh said.
Elsewhere, Samoa beat Scotland 26-17 in the Challenge final to stay in touch with 5th placed Australia.
Scotland had overcame Kenya (29-21) and Wales (33-7) in the previous rounds.
Ireland arguably pulled off the shock of the tournament on first day, beating hosts England 21-17 in Pool C.
Ireland, who will become a core team next year, went on to reach the 5th place play-off, eventually losing to New Zealand 35-14.
The series now heads to the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris, with all attentions on the top of the table, as the USA will look to deny Fiji a third title in five years.
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