Rugby Tens Championship Release
With three weeks to go until the Rugby Tens Championship (R10C) in South Africa, the organisers are delighted to announce that numerous Rugby World Cup Sevens, National Teams Sevens and 15s as well as top Professional Clubs international stars will be playing and coaching in the competition.
This includes players who represented the host nation South Africa at Cape Town Stadium in early September as the world of rugby descended onto the city to watch as Fiji and Australia went home as World Champions.
Mathrin Simmers and Felicia Jacobs, returning for a 2nd time to the Championship, represented South Africa as Paul Delport’s side finished fourteenth overall.
At just 21, Jamaica’s Jack Rampton is a highly rated prospect on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, having made his bow in that competition in the recently concluded 2021/22 campaign before showcasing his skills at the Cape Town Stadium.
International legends will also be lacing up their boots again, including Blitzboks stalwart Branco du Preez, as well as former South Africa international Marithy Pienaar and Kenyan super-duo Andrew Amonde and Oscar Ouma.
“Having played 7s rugby for such a long time and prior to that 15s, I am excited to play Tens. The Pretoria and Stellenbosch events are set up to be very competitive and fun as well, and I look forward to showing off my skills” shared du Preez.
Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Uganda, Tunisia, USA, Fiji, France, Japan, and others are sending their National Team players to the 10-a-side competition that will be taking place over two weeks in South Africa this October.
Blitzboks legends Cecil Afrika and Frankie Horne with coaching Women’s Teams, in a bid to raise awareness to equality in rugby and sports.
“I am extremely excited for the upcoming Tens Championship and for the competition to be happening in my home country (South Africa). In working with the ladies team, I am able to share my knowledge and experiences that aim to empower them with the necessary tools to add to their already existing potential, and equally compete in the sport. I believe part of the solution to creating more and more equality within the field is providing the platform in which to do so, and thus I am grateful to be part of that” says Cecil Afrika.
Frankie Horne, the High-Performance Head of Sevens with USA’s Rhinos Rugby and having helped Jamaica National Team Sevens at this year’s World Cup, notes “What excites me is the caliber of players coming to the R10C this year. Not only on the Men’s front but the quality and expertise on the Women’s front is mouthwatering. Looking forward to a solid competition as it’s loaded with top coaches and players.”
Nicknamed ‘the king of sevens’ during his playing days, Rhinos Rugby’s High-Performance Coach, Waisale Serevi, will be coaching the San Clemente Rhinos men’s side. A two-time Rugby World Cup Sevens winner, the 54-year-old also represented his country at three 15-a-side Rugby World Cups before moving on to coaching, where he has coached his native Fiji, as well as Russia and Jamaica.
The long list of international heavyweights also includes the 2014 Rugby World Cup winner with England, Heather Fisher, as assistant coach, the Canadian international DTH van der Merwe, who represented the Maple Leafs at four XV World Cups, and at Rugby World Cup Sevens, Ryno Combrinck, who coached Botswana as well as the San Clemente Rhinos in 2020 and 2021 professional competitions, and the former Springbok scrum-half, Dan van Zyl.
Starting out in Pretoria on October 7-8, before moving on to Stellenbosch on October 14-15, the series original four franchises (Balkans Honey Badgers, Cape Town Wild Dogs, San Clemente Rhinos, Serengeti Elephants are joined starting with this year by the historic Blue Bulls Rugby Union. Founded in 1938, the province has joined the competition and will showcase the region’s wealth of talent, while offering its women a first opportunity to play rugby at a professional level.
A competition with three core values that are ‘rugby, equality and entertainment’, the Rugby Tens Championship champions opportunities for all, and promotes equality in sport. This includes giving athletes of diverse backgrounds, nationalities and experience the opportunity to compete at a professional level, and equal resources and compensation to men and women.
The competition will also feature Academy U18 boys and girls players, with a total of 20 teams competing for Division Trophies in both Pretoria and Stellenbosch.
Over the two weekends of action, players will also compete for the Championship Franchise Trophy and R 200,000 prize, which is akin to Formula 1’s Constructors Championship, meaning that every team’s contribution to the cause will matter.
Australia National Teams and Professional Clubs: Natalie Wright (Queensland Reds), Kaitlin Shave (Brisbane Broncos), Georgia Hannaway (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Nathan den Hoedt (LA Giltinis, MLR), Sama Malolo
Austria National Team: Elena-Riccarda Hennig
Canada National Team: Oliver Nott (Toronto Arrows, MLR), Kainoa Lloyd (San Diego Legion, MLR), Brock Gallagher (Loggerheads, PR Sevens), Josh Larsen (New England Free Jacks, MLR)
England National Teams and Professional Clubs: Ellen Ramsbottom (Loughborough Lightning, Allianz premier 15s)
Fiji National Teams: Adi Vani Buleki (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Reapi Ulunisau (2020 Olympics), Viniana Riwai (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Rusila Nagasau (2016 & 2020 Olympics)
France National Teams and Professional Clubs: Luca Mignot (University of Bath, BUCS Super Rugby), Marie Saluzzo (Stade Francais), Kelegh Moutome( HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Romeo Ponge Prince (Berre)
Ireland National Teams and Professional Clubs: Anne Caplice (2017 RWC), David Busby (Seattle Seawolves, MLR), Patrick O’Toole (NOLA Gold, MLR), John Poland (New England Free Jacks, MLR)
Jamaica National Teams: Jack Rampton (2022 RWC7s), Matthew Coore
Japan National Teams and Professional Clubs: Chiharu Nakamura (2016 & 2020 Olympic Games, 2018 & 2022 RWC7s)
Kenya National Teams: Andrew Amonde (2013 & 2018 RWC7s) Oscar Ouma (2013 RWC7s), Grace Adhiambo (2020 Olympics), Stellah Wafula (2020 Olympics), Judith Okumu (2020 Olympics), Janet Okelo (2016 & 2020 Olympics), Jeff Mukutu
Mexico National Team: Isabel Gonzalez Burgos (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series)
Namibia National Team: Wynand Breytenbach
Netherlands National Teams and Professional Clubs: Pleuni Kievit (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Jordan Heil (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Timon Vijn (Loggerheads, Premier Rugby Sevens)
New Zealand National Teams and Professional Clubs: Rebekah Cordero Tufuga (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Angus Fletcher, Shakira Baker (2014 RWC, 2018 RWC7s, 2016 Olympics), Marcelle Parkes, Rhiarna Ferris, Harmony Ioane, Grace Steinmetz
Poland National Team: Anna Klichowska (2022 RWC7s), Natalia Pamieta (2022 RWC7s)
South Africa National Teams: Branco du Preez (2013 RWC7s), Marithy Pienaar (2018 RWC7s), Lorinda Brown(HSBC World Cup Sevens Series), Mathrin Simmers (2022 RWC7s), Nomsa Mokwai (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Felicia Jacobs (2022 RWC7s), Kirsten Conrad (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series), Ryno Benjamin (2009 & 2013 RWC7s)
Sweden National Teams and Professional Clubs: Minonna Nunstedt, Amanda Swartz
Trinidad and Tobago National Team: Jonathan Taylor
Tunisia: Mariam Mekni
Uganda National Team: Ian Munyani
USA National Teams and Major League Rugby: Matai Leuta (2018 RWC7s, Houston SaberCats, MLR), Cyrille Cama (LA Giltinis, MLR) , Elizabeth Tafuna (USA Falcons 7s), Ryan James (LA Giltinis, MLR)
Zimbabwe National Team: Hilton Mudariki (Zimbabwe Goshawks), Biselele Tshamala (Zimbabwe Goshawks)