Cardiff Blues duo James Botham and Owen Lane have been included in Wales Sevens' squad for the Wellington leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Botham, alongside Newport’s Elliot Frewen, will make his World Series at Westpac Stadium next weekend. (January 28-29)
Former Cardiff Blues players Adam Thomas, Ben Roach and Owen Jenkins also feature in Gareth Williams’ 14-man squad.
Wales have been drawn in Pool D, alongside Scotland, Canada and Russia, and head coach Williams hopes Botham can makes his mark on the squad, as they look to build on their fine form following the first two legs of the series.
“These two new caps are part of the strategy to build depth moving towards next year’s Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens,” said Williams.
“James Botham’s selection supports the work we’re trying to do in developing players with regions. He’s a very promising player for Cardiff Blues. He’s trained and has earned his opportunity in Wellington.”
Williams’ side reached the quarter- and semi-final in the first two rounds of the 2016/17 season, and the aim is to build on their positive performances at Dubai and Cape Town.
“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 Sevens squad for Wellington
Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues)
Steffan Andrews (Aberavon)
Elliot Frewen (Newport)
Tom Williams (Ospreys)
Sam Cross (capt)
James Botham (Cardiff Blues)
James Benjamin (Newport Gwent Dragons)
Matthew Owen (Scarlets)