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.
‘Quadzilla’ Set for Sevens Debut
Former sprinter Trae Williams is set to make his debut for the Australian Sevens side this weekend
Nicknamed ‘Quadzilla’. Williams has a personal best of 10.10 seconds over 100 metres and his arrival to the sport caused waves across social media as he is potentially set to become the fastest rugby player ever.
However, despite there being a huge amount of excitement around his debut, Australian head coach Tim Walsh has admitted he isn’t expecting much from the 22-year-old during the opening round of the world series, as Williams only switched to the sport seven-months ago.
“I’m not expecting much from him over the weekend at all. I really want him to enjoy himself and to get a feel for it and the players around him will hopefully allow him, or create space for him, to use his weapon – speed. It’s a huge occasion and despite his background and the work he’s done, it’s still a massive step so there’s absolutely no pressure on him,” he said while speaking to AAP.
Walsh’s main tip to the youngster was to just simply “run fast” as he gets to grips with the sport.
Having made the switch, Williams ignited the debate as to whether he would be faster than the current fastest player on the planet Carlin Isles, with Isles insisting that he would still be the top-speedster in the game.
Following the Aussies first two pool games against Scotland and Fiji they take on the US and fans will be hoping that both Williams and Isles are on the pitch at the same time as they come face to face for the first time.
It will be a challenging weekend for Williams as he adapts to the game, but fans will be hoping he can build-up his game ahead of he Olympics next year with Australia holding high expectations for the tournament in Tokyo.
Final Team Announced for RugbyX Competition
The final team to compete in the first ever RugbyX tournament has been confirmed and it will make things even more interesting
The Barbarians have been confirmed as the final team to compete at this year’s first ever RugbyX event in the O2 in London on October 29th.
Speaking on the Barbarians inclusion Technical Director of RugbyX Ben Ryan believes that the sport will provide fans with a brilliant new way to support their country.
“RugbyX is bringing world leading international Sevens rugby teams into Europe’s number one entertainment destination – The O2 arena – for an adapted form of the game we love. RugbyX will provide new and existing fans with an opportunity to support their national team in a brand new rugby environment,” he said.
He went on to say that the Baa Baas have all the qualities within their side that the tournament needs and thinks they are in with a huge chance of winning the competition.
“At RugbyX we are looking to instil some key principles with this new format of the game which consist of teamwork, participation and inclusion. These values are the fundamentals of the Barbarians’ existence so to have them participate at RugbyX is just brilliant. Additionally, the wealth of experience and talent that the Barbarians have to select from will make them one of the strongest competitors at The O2 in October,” he added.
Barbarians Chairman John Spencer is delighted that his side now have another platform to perform on.
“Since our foundation in 1890, the Barbarians have been committed to combining the best of attacking rugby with the traditions of enjoyment and sportsmanship for which our club and our sport is famous throughout the world. We are delighted to bring those traditions to this most innovative format of rugby at The O2 arena in London. We have had success in the Sevens game previously, with wins at the Hong Kong Sevens and Middlesex Sevens amongst the Barbarians past honours. We look forward to facing the world’s leading international sevens teams in this new fast-paced, five vs. five format of the game we love,” he said.
The new brand of rugby will use all the same rules as rugby union in terms of foul play and breakdown penalties. However, there will only be 5 players per team with each match lasting only 10 minutes with no half-time.
As well as that there are no line-outs only quick-throws which are taken by a substitute from the team in possession and there are no conversions.
The plan is that this will create a new faster brand of rugby which will become appealing to fans across the world.
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.
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