The Ramblings Of An Egg Chaser

Welcome to my blog on all things rugby related, my views are my own except where the voices in my head tell me otherwise.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

20th Year Highlights For Samurai

This year is the 20th Anniversary for Samurai 7s and it has been one of the most successful ever for the club.  Not only have the team been delivering results on the field but also the club has proved that its development pathway is second to none when it comes to finding, developing and producing top class players, coaches and staff.  Samurai have also chosen to support several charities this year including the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who, amongst other things, look after orphan elephants until they can be reintegrated into the wild.

Samurai also wanted to document the huge number of players and staff that have represented the club that are present at every leg of the World Sevens Series.  With around a third of all the players at every leg of the WSS having pulled on a Samurai 7s jersey at some point it was decided that a club alumni photo would be taken at the final leg in London.  

It has also been a successful year for Samurai Ladies winning the Dubai 7s and the 7s In The City Tournaments.  Samurai were delighted and proud when former player Rocky Clarke became the most capped England player of all time!  

Samurai Ladies were well represented in Rio with former players in the Team GB and Australia squads.  The standout was Charlotte Caslick who won Gold with Australia under Samurai coach and player Tim Walsh

The club were also pleased when long term coach Nick Wakley was appointed to the Wales Ladies coaching team for 7s and 15s, Super Sevens Series winning coach James Bailey being appointed as the England Ladies 7s coach and former player Chris Cracknell took on the Fiji Ladies 7s team for Rio.

Samurai also continued identifying and developing young players in the Samurai Bulldogs team.  The youngsters had a great season winning at Maidenhead, Chester, Bury, 7s In The City and Harpenden with several players then given the opportunity to step up to Samurai International.
The team also gave coaching opportunities to young up and coming coaches including James Bailey, Frazer Harkness, Paul Archer and Chris Roberts.  They were also delighted to have several England 7s players who started in Bulldogs come back to help bring the next generation of 7s stars through.

 Season Highlights

We asked some of the staff involved with us in our 20th year for their season highlights:

"For me it was getting to coach the Samurai team at 7s in the City against Team GB, Wales and Barbados.  We were the only invitational team playing in the competition that included Team GB, England, Wales and France.  For us to beat Wales and to be competitive against the Team GB side that went on to win silver at the Olympics after only 24 hours preparation was a fantastic achievement!"

Nick Wakley, Coach, Samurai International RFC

"Despite the many highlights, in my opinion our best moment has to be winning the 2016 Super Sevens Series.  We were sitting in 3rd place in the table coming into the finale at Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park. We had to win the 3rd and final leg against England 7s to take the Series and Win we did!"

Terry Sands, Founder, Samurai International RFC

 "The highlight of the year for me was the Samurai Alumni photo for our 20th Anniversary taken at the London leg of the WSS where we saw the number of players, coaches and nations that had been part of the Samurai pathway.  It showed me the high regard that Samurai held in by the Rugby 7s community worldwide.  Of course this was further reinforced by the number of Samurai men and women involved with their countries in the Rio Olympics."

Mike Friday, Chairman, Samurai International RFC

"I cannot believe the club is only twenty years old or that I have been involved for ten of them.  For me I have loved seeing our players and staff representing their countries at the Olympic Games in Rio and on the World Sevens Series.  Sometimes you do forget quite how many International players and coaches have been involved with Samurai!  

My most memorable moment was seeing the squad at the Safari 7s run out in the "Tembo" shirts in support of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  The shirt was the idea of Terry Sands, Luke Crocker and myself after the visit to the orphanage in 2015 and incorporated the elephant mural from the orphanage wall. 

The cause is incredibly close to our hearts and to be able to use rugby and our club to raise awareness and funds for them was something very special."

Mark Dean, Operations Director, Samurai International RFC

"It was a real highlight for me to get to coach Samurai for the first time having played for them previously on several occasions.  Winning the Super Sevens Series at Sandy Park in Exeter and retaining our series title capped off an incredible summer!"

James Bailey, Coach, Samurai International

It hasn't been all plain sailing however and there have been some disappointments along the way including narrowly missing out on the Hong Kong 10s title which is the only major tournament to have so far alluded the Samurai.

"Worst moment has to be our Hong Kong 10’s defeat where we lost to the Penguins in the final minute of a 10-minute overtime period. We had lost 2 key players as they were called up to England 7s and started with only 13 men but the players put in an unbelievable effort with a passionate performance only to be pipped at the post! Sport can be cruel at times as we all know but we wouldn’t change it for the World"

Terry Sands, Founder, Samurai International

The other upset was in Amsterdam where an all Welsh Samurai team, replicating the very first Samurai team who won the trophy in 1996, failed to retain the Silver Pier trophy.

"It was disappointing not to win Amsterdam in our 20th year but I was delighted to take an  all Welsh side there again.  The team in 1996 included the likes of Martyn Williams, Neil Jenkins and Chris Wyatt so hopefully some of the youngsters we took this time will go on to have that sort of career as well!"

Nick Wakley, Coach, Samurai International

So all in all a good season for the club and a fine 20th anniversary celebration.  To help give you an idea of exactly what the club got up to in it's twentieth year take a look at the graphic below giving you our season in numbers and also a breakdown of the 22 tournaments we took part in.  See you next year for our 21st and the next chapter in the story of the best invitational rugby 7s team in the World.

Friday, 30 December 2016

20 Years Of Samurai 7s

Samurai International RFC celebrates it's 20th birthday this year so we asked some of our coaches and managers from the last 20 years to pick their Samurai All Stars Team.  

The rules were simple, they had to pick a squad of 12 players plus a manager, coach and physio.  They must either played alongside, worked alongside or coached everyone in their selection.  We also decided that each player must have played in at least 2 tournaments for Samurai and that this was specifically 7s and not 10s tournaments.  This instantly ruled out the likes of Taulupe Faletau, Chris Robshaw, Pio Tuwai, Maddison Hughes, Sam Cane and Nemani Nadolo among many many other rugby superstars!!

We also decided that at the end of it we would determine the overall greatest Samurai team of the last 20 Years by combining all of the selections (1 point per individual selection) and if there was a tie for any position then the Samurai RFC founder, Mr Terry Sands himself, would be given the casting vote.  

So let's get down to it......

Rob Thirlby Selection

First up is former England 7s and Samurai 7s player and current Samurai coach Rob Thirlby.  Rob still has one of the highest try scoring records on the World Sevens Series having only recently dropped out of the all time top ten.  His comparatively low number of tournaments to others on that list makes that feat even more impressive.  Rob had played and coached Samurai on a great many occasions so he had a lot of choice for his team.

  1. Russell Earnshaw (England)
  2. Simon Hunt (England)
  3. Gerry Engelbrekt (SA)
  4. Mike Friday (England)
  5. Tim Walsh (Australia)
  6. Nick Wakley (Wales)
  7. John Rudd (England)
  8. Ben Russell (England)
  9. Tony Roques (England)
  10. Andy Powell (Wales)
  11. James Bailey (England)
  12. Simon Amor (England)
Manager: Mark Dean
Coach: Mike Friday
Physio: Claire McLoughlin

Terry Sands Selection

Here we go with the main man himself.  Terry Sands founded Samurai in 1996 when he received an invitation to the Amsterdam 7s.  Terry has managed England 7s, England Saxons and Kenya 7s over the last twenty years as well as managing Samurai teams all over the World.  

His selection includes six Olympians, five nationalities and some of the greatest players ever to appear on the World Sevens Series.

  1. Werner Kok (South Africa & IRB Player Of The year)
  2. Sam Dickson (New Zealand)
  3. Scott Curry (New Zealand)
  4. Jack Wilson (England & New Zealand)
  5. Kwagga Smith (South Africa)
  6. Ollie Lindsay-Hague (England)
  7. Oriol Ripol (Spain)
  8. Ben Gollings (England)
  9. Ryno Benjamin (South Africa)
  10. Zar Lawrence (New Zealand)
  11. Carlin Isles (USA)
  12. David Strettle (England)

Coach - Colin Hillman (Wales)

Manager - Mark Dean (Nigeria)

Physio's - Remi Mobed (England) & Claire McLoughlin (IRB)

Tim Walsh Selection

Our next selection is from an Olympic Gold Medal winning coach, former Australia 7s player, former Samurai 7s player and Samurai Coach Tim Walsh.  

Tim has already made a few selections himself so let's find out who made the grade for one of the most highly thought of coaches in the World of Rugby 7s

  1. Andy Vilk (England & Italy Coach)
  2. Russell Earnshaw (England)
  3. Humphrey Kayange (Kenya)
  4. Mark Bright (England)
  5. Jim Jenner (England)
  6. Kevin Barrett (England)
  7. Ross Blake (England)
  8. Tim Walsh (Australia)
  9. Sherwin Stowers (New Zealand)
  10. John Rudd (England)
  11. Simon Hunt (England)
  12. David Strettle (England)
Coach: Colin Hillman
Manager: Terry Sands
Physio: Claire McLoughlin

Mark Dean Selection

Mark "Deano" Dean is the former Nigeria 7s and 15s manager and has been with Samurai for ten years having taken the very first Barracudas team to Amsterdam in 2007.  Deano has managed Samurai all over the World and worked with many of the best players and coaches to have ever been involved with Samurai.

His selection includes players from ten different nations, seven Olympians and quite a few players from the side that won the Safari 7s in 2015. 

  1. Sam Dickson (NZ) 
  2. Oscar Ouma (Kenya) 
  3. Mark Bright (England) 
  4. Pedro Leal (Portugal)
  5. Rhys Jones (Wales)
  6. Osea Kolinisau (Fiji)
  7. Chad Shepherd (Germany)
  8. Simon Hunt (England)
  9. Carlin Isles (USA)
  10. Oliviero Fabiano (Italy)
  11. Ignacio Martins (Spain)
  12. Dan Bibby (England)
Coach: Nick Wakley (Wales)
Manager: John Elliot (England)
Physio: Emma Mark (Nigeria)

Nick Wakley Selection

Nick Wakley has played and coached Samurai for over ten years. A Welsh 7s International player and now the Wales Ladies 7s coach he has won tournaments for Samurai with some of the best players all over the world.  

His selection reflects that with players from six nations including the current top try scorer and the all time top point scorer on the World Sevens Series as well as several Olympic medal winners.   

1. Humphrey Kayange (Kenya)
2. Marius Shoeman (SA)
3. John Rudd (England)
4. Sam Cross (Wales)
5. Mark Bright (England)
6. Simon Hunt *(England)
7. Ben Gollings (England)
8. Simon Amor (England)
9. Tim Walsh (Australia)
10. Zar Lawrence (New Zealand)
11. Collins Injera (Kenya)
12. Henry Speight (Australia)

Manager: Terry Sands
Coach: Colin Hillman
Physio: Claire McLoughlin

Mark Hewitt Selection

Mark Hewitt has a distinguished CV as a coach with Cornish Pirates, Gloucester and now Worcester Warriors.  He has coached Samurai to notable victories in Amsterdam and Bournemouth and worked with huge numbers of players who have gone on to have very successful Premiership careers.  
His selection contains players from throughout his career including RWC7s winner Rhodri McAtee and former International players and current International coaches Chad Sheppard, Simon Amor, Chris Cracknell and Tim Walsh.

  1. Mark Bright (England)
  2. Jacob Abbot (England)
  3. Richard De Carpentier (England)
  4. Simon Amor (England)
  5. Tim Walsh (Australia)
  6. Oriol Ripol (Spain)
  7. Christian Wade (England)
  8. Rob Vickerman (England)
  9. Chris Cracknell (England)
  10. Charlie Walker Blair (Not Capped)
  11. Chad Sheppard (Germany)
  12. Rhodri McAtee (Wales)
Manager: Matt Davies (Wasps Academy Director)
Coach: Mark Hewitt (Worcester Warriors)
Physio: Remi Mobed (England 7s & England FA)

Russell Earnshaw Selection

Russell "Rusty" Earnshaw is the former England 7s assistant coach, England 7s International, Bath player and coach of the GB Students team.  Rusty has coached and played for Samurai all over the world and as one of the longest serving members of the club it is no surprise he has made it into several team selections himself!

His selection includes Mike Boys one of the original Samurai, Simon Hunt the Samurai player of the decade (96-06) and England 15s star David Strettle along with some of the most famous names in the World of Rugby Sevens.

  1. Simon Hunt (England)
  2. Owen Scrimgeour (New Zealand)
  3. Rob Vickerman (England)
  4. Mike Friday (England)
  5. Mike Boys (Wales)
  6. Tim Walsh (Australia)
  7. David Strettle (England)
  8. Gerry Engelbrecht (South Africa)
  9. Chris Cracknell (England)
  10. Shaun Welch (Uncapped)
  11. Richard Carter (Wales)
  12. Ben Lewitt (Uncapped)
Manager: Matt Davies (Wasps Academy Director)
Coach: Colin Hillman (Wales)
Physio: Lorcan McGee (Aston Villa & GB Students)

Mike Friday Selection

Mike Friday, the current Samurai Chairman, has played for England 7s and coached England in back to back Hong Kong titles.  He has also coached Kenya to their highest ever placing on the World Sevens Series and is the current head coach of USA 7s.  Mike also coached Samurai to back to back victories in the Middlesex 7s and to their recent Amsterdam and Safari 7s triumphs.  His selection includes players from five different countries and includes the WSS all time top try scorer and several winners of the WSS player of the year award.

  1. Oscar Ouma (Kenya)
  2. Frankie Horne (SA)
  3. Phil Dowson (England)
  4. Oriol Ripol (Spain)
  5. Mike Boys (Wales)
  6. Mark Appleson (England)
  7. David Strettle (England)
  8. Humphrey Kayange (Kenya)
  9. Simon Amor (England)
  10. Kingsley Jones (Wales)
  11. Henry Paul (England)
  12. Collins Injera (Kenya)
Manager: Terry Sands
Coach: Colin Hillman
Physio: Mike Snelling

Tony Roques Selection

Tony "Rocky" Roques is an England 7s stalwart.  He played for England under Joe Lydon, Mike Friday and Ben Ryan before taking on the assistant coaching role under his former team mate Simon Amor.  Rocky has played for Samurai on numerous occasions as well including winning tournaments in Amsterdam and Basingstoke. 

His selection is the only one made up entirely  of players from one nation and also includes six players who went on to coach Samurai themselves.  He also gave our favourite reason for selecting a player (a certain Mike Friday) which was "Because he never shuts up".

  1. Phil Dowson (England)
  2. Rob Vickerman (England)
  3. Pat Sanderson (England)
  4. Simon Amor (England)
  5. Ben Gollings (England)
  6. Ben Foden (England)
  7. Dan Norton (England)
  8. Russell Earnshaw (England)
  9. Phil Greening (England)
  10. Mike Friday (England)
  11. Rob Thirlby (England)
  12. Richard Haughton (England)
Manager: Terry Sands
Coach: Simon Amor
Physio: Remi Mobed

The Samurai 1996-2016 All-Stars Selection

So, here it is, the Samurai All Stars of 1996-2016.  Six different nations from four different continents represented in the twelve man squad, players that went on to be Olympic medal winning coaches, players that went onto successful International 15-a-side careers, topped off with some SERIOUS wheels and a RWC7s winning coach at the helm.  Not bad at all.

  1.  Mark Bright (England)
  2.  Russell Earnshaw (England)
  3.  Humphrey Kayange (Kenya)
  4.  Simon Amor (England)
  5.  Tim Walsh (Australia) 
  6.  Oriol Ripol (Spain)
  7.  David Strettle (England)
  8.  Zar Lawrence (New Zealand)
  9.  Jon Rudd (England)
  10.  Carlin isles (USA)
  11.  Sam Dickson (New Zealand)
  12.  Simon Hunt (England)
On Standby:  Christian Wade, Oscar Ouma, Collins Injera, Ben Gollings

Manager: Terry Sands (England)
Coach: Colin Hillman (Wales)
Physio: Claire McLoughlin (England)

Not a bad team by any standard and one that would certainly be competitive at the highest level.  For a club that is only twenty years old to have had such a talent pool to draw on is testament to the attraction of pulling on the Samurai 7s jersey.  It makes you wonder who will be pulling on the shirt in the next twenty years!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Protecting The Herd

This is a tale about Elephants, Samurai, Rugby 7s and a Welshman, which is in all honesty not an opening line I ever expected to write.  I am going to assume for the purpose of brevity that you are capable of telling each of them apart.  If not I suggest you take a crash course in geography and zoology, watch the match between Japan and New Zealand in the 1995 RWC, take a trip to Melrose in Scotland and buy some industrial strength lubricant.

This story begins in Kenya with Samurai 7s having just won the Safari 7s in Nairobi for the second year in a row.  They had beaten a young England team in the quarters, Western Province in the semi and finally a very talented Kenya team 20-19 in the final. We'd celebrated in style following the obligatory court session and put away more than a few beers.  Players from 7 nations who had come together in less than a week to play and win at 6000' above sea level in what is undoubtedly one of the toughest tournaments in the world, that isn't on the World Sevens Series, enjoying the spoils of victory & back to back wins at the Safari 7s.

The next day, before we flew home, I had arranged for the squad to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) and their orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi in the Nairobi National Park.  A good friend of mine who has, in my opinion, the best job in the world as a safari guide had put us in touch with Lina Sideras.  Lina is one of the amazing people running the orphanage and was delighted to have us join the public visit that day.  What we didn't expect was when Angela Sheldrick herself came out to say hello and then talk rugby with us!  As it turns out her sons Roan and Taru are rugby mad and she wanted to hear all about the tournament and the win over Kenya.  She must have taken a shine to us  for some, still unfathomable, reason because we were invited on a private tour to meet the orphans and other residents up close and personal.  Maxwell the Black Rhino who was born blind and taken in by the Sheldrick family was a big favourite as was Kiko the young Giraffe who got on famously with players Glen Rolls & Pierre Peres.  

We then got a real treat, Edwin the senior keeper, allowed us to walk in with the herd of Elephants at the orphanage.  It was an unbelievable privilege to walk with such beautiful and intelligent animals and something none of us will ever forget!  I even got to meet Kauro an elephant that my wife and I had adopted personally some time before whilst on honeymoon.  I learnt that Elephants recognise you by scent and that by blowing gently on the end of their trunk is how they identify individuals.  

Elephants, Edwin, Samurai & Angela Sheldrick 2015
Angela, Lina and Edwin told us how each of the orphans came to be in their care and of the perilous lives that these incredible animals are forced to live due to the superstitions and greed of the most barbaric and vicious species on the planet: homo sapiens.  The statistics were shocking then and have got even worse after the Elephant Census carried out Africa wide this year showing a 30% drop in the Savannah Elephent population in under ten years.  My youngest brother, the ecologist, expanded on the scope of this pending disaster when I returned home by explaining the role Elephants play in the ecosystem as Keystones Species.  Their impending demise will be bad for everyone and everything and unless the main culprits, man, change their behaviour quickly then the situation looks grim.
iWorry - An Elephant Is Killed In Africa Every 15 Minutes By Poachers
We sat there on the coach back to the hotel and you could almost hear the players thinking about what they had just seen and just been told.  As bloody usual it was a Welshman called Luke Crocker who, in his own inimitable style, started the ball rolling.  "We could make a difference here, not a big difference but a real difference"  Not the most elegant of statements but we understood what he meant.   As he spoke I sat there thinking about how I had won the Amsterdam 7s, the GB 7s Series and the Safari 7s with Luke that year.  He had skippered us in Nairobi and played despite being laid low with a stomach bug, "Shitting through the eye of a needle" as he put it, he had led the team from the front to that hard fought victory over the Kenyan team in the final.  He had simply been immense all year, all those victories and dedication to the Samurai cause, but in that moment I had never been more proud of him.  Don't get me wrong, for me rugby and winning at rugby are important.  Very important in fact as my wife will tell you at great length with a long suffering look of exasperation on her face.  However it turned out, much to my surprise, that there are a few things in life that are significantly more important.

Samurai In With The Herd 2016
I should probably warn you that I actually don't know a great deal.  To be fair this probably doesn't surprise anyone who knows me particularly well as I was once told by one of my lecturers my attitude to learning in his class was "somewhat casual".   A brief summary of what I do know includes "Trilobites look a lot like Woodlice" (Zoology & Palaentology 101, a great course you should do it), Gin & Tonic is definitely medicinal, that you should never eat anything bigger than your own head and you shouldn't sleep with anyone you cannot bench press.  I also know that if you are given the opportunity to do something that can make a positive difference then, like with a rugby ball, you should take it in both hands and run with it. 

There are endless quotes and sound bites on the subject of "making a difference" but two of them from very different sources have always resonated with me.  As we headed back to the hotel, with the players discussing Elephants around me, I played them over and over again in my head wondering how we could make a difference in something that was a global problem.  The first has been used by many different people over the years but the version I had heard was from world renowned conservationist Jane Goodall:

"The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves"

The second was from my childhood, one of Aesop's Fables told to me by my parents, probably after I had committed yet another heinous act of childish villainy and in the vain hope of keeping me from continuing to turn into the sort of nightmare child every parent must dread.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." 

Elephant Mural At DSWT
The one from Aesop gave us a little perspective.  We weren't hugely wealthy, we weren't influential enough to change the minds of all the terrible people driving the market in animal parts and we weren't scientists who could come up with an ingenious solution to the huge problems of human animal conflict but we could still help where we could.   It meant we could contribute enough to make a difference to individual orphans and the team that looked after them. That, to us, seemed like a cause worth taking on and one with which we could make a real difference.  So, before we left Kenya, we contacted the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and adopted an orphan called Simotua who had suffered terribly at the hands of poachers and was recovering from a spear wound to the head and a snare wound to his leg.  We also spoke about how we could, and the Kenyan players like Sammy Oliech in particular, could help raise awareness of the situation and of the work being done by the likes of the DSWT.  Crocker also suggested that we take on some elements of the DSWT in our playing kit next year, specifically the elephant mural painted at the orphanage, and call it the "Tembo Shirt".

Terry Sands & Ambo
Simotua (b.2014 d.2016)
The main man at Samurai, Terry Sands, also got involved and after he had visited the orphanage later that year Samurai International RFC adopting another young orphan called Ambo following the tragic news that little Simotua had, despite a brave fight, succumbed to his injuries.  He also agreed to design a shirt based on the DSWT mural for the Samurai 7s team to wear at the tournament in 2016.  Samurai Sportswear would also produce a replica shirt from which the proceeds would go to the DSWT.  The shirts would be accompanied by a social media campaign supported by the whole Samurai Family including the likes of Mike Friday the former Kenya 7s coach.  The shirts went down a storm with the Samurai 7s players constantly being asked for their shirts while on tour.  We hope that the sale of replicas generates a decent amount of money for the DSWT so, plug time, if you fancy buying one click here.  

And yes, my nieces and nephews can all expect one for Christmas.
The Tembo Shirt

So fast forward to the Safaricom 7s in 2016, three of the players from 2015 had made the selection for this year's Samurai team.  Sadly Luke Crocker could not get released by Cardiff to play but Scotland International Michael Fedo and Spanish Olympians Paco Hernandez and Ignacio Martins travelled once again to Kenya to compete at the Safari 7s.

Samurai International - Runners Up At Safari 7s 2016
Our aim was, as usual, to make the cup final of the competition and be in with a chance of winning it.  We also discussed at our first team meeting our aims with regards to raising awareness for the DSWT and talked about the impact we hoped we could have in raising awareness for their work.  We knew that for every game we won at the tournament the chances increased that more people would start talking about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  This meant they were more likely to make a donation to the DSWT that could fund milk for an orphan elephant to keep them alive, it might fund equipment for the amazing rangers, keepers and anti poaching teams that are working day in day out to prevent the extinction of one of the most important species on the planet and it would fund the reintegration of the orphans back into wild breeding herds which was vital for long term species survival.

Samurai & Kenya 2016
So what has been achieved?  Sadly we haven't magically solved the problems facing the African Savannah Elephant but we did get the chance to raise awareness of the problems they face.  We gave exposure to the DSWT on national television (Zuku Sports) and in the Kenyan press and we answered questions from local school children about our kit and the Trust.  It is vital to continue the process of educating the children and people of Kenya because how we manage the areas of conflict between Man and Elephant as communities grow and expand moving forward is vital to the survival of the Elephant in it's natural habitat.  I also hope that by writing this and you in turn reading it I might have convinced you to take action to help change the destructive course our species is set on.  I hope that you might choose to donate to assist the work of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust or use one of their eco-tourism retreats for what is an incredible experience in Kenya (trust me on this they are truly amazing places).  Of course they aren't the only organisation involved in this work so you may well find your own cause or charity to help and champion.  The bottom line is that the more of us using our voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves then the greater chance we have of stopping species like Elephants becoming extinct.  It also means we get to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything possible to prevent these incredible creatures from becoming nothing more than a photograph in a book or a mural on a wall.  Oh and we lost 38-21 in the final to Kenya in a great match played in a tremendous spirit.  2 Safari 7s wins from 3 cup finals in 3 years isn't so bad I guess.

Samurai International At DSWT 2016
So looking briefly to the future we are looking forward to returning to Kenya in 2017 to win back our trophy.  We will once again use that privileged opportunity to highlight the plight of the African Elephant and of the incredible work done by the likes of Angela Sheldrick and her team at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

We will speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

And we will #ProtectTheHerd

PS, They do look similar.



PPS, The Team Lists

Samurai 7s 2015

Ignacio Martins, Paco Hernandez, Glen Rolls (Spain), Pierre Peres (France), Youness Hou (Maroc), Oscar Ouma, Felix Ayange, Sammy Oliech (Kenya), Luke Crocker, Elliot Frewen (Wales), Michael Fedo (Scotland), Sam Isaacs (England)

Samurai 7s 2016

Ignacio Martins, Paco Hernandez (Spain), Michael Fedo, Scott Wight, James Fleming, Dougie Fife, Jimmy Johnstone, Darren Gillespie, Nick McLennan (Scotland), Patrice Agunda, Churchill Ooko, Dan Sikuta (Kenya), John Dawes (England)

PPPS, Yeah another plug to buy a shirt & help raise money for the DSWT by clicking here