Sevens stars: players to watch
October 9, 2013
The HSBC Sevens World Series provides nine festivals of rugby to entertain the dressed-up and made-up fans around the world. But who are the brightest stars to do the entertaining? We've composed a list of Sevens stars you need to keep your eye on for the season.
Dan Norton (England)
Dan Norton is prolific, the leading try scorer and top points scorer in the 2012-13 season. One of the fastest players on the international Sevens circuit, Norton has been an integral part of the English side for three seasons and helped them reach the Rugby World Cup Sevens final only to fall short to New Zealand.
Dan Norton knows his way to the tryline © Getty Images
Tim Mikkelson (New Zealand)
The IRB Sevens Player of the Year for the 2012-2013 season, the winger regarded as the fittest player in the New Zealand side was consistently strong. Sitting among the top 10 try scorers for last season, Tim Mikkelson slotted easily into forward and back positions and stepped up to lead the side at the end of the season and lift the World Series Trophy.
Tim Mikkelson remains one of the mainstays of the New Zealand team © Getty Images
Cornal Hendricks (South Africa)
The second most prolific try scorer in the World Series, Hendricks has been an instrumental player on the wing for the South African side for several years. He took a lead role in South Africa's tournament wins in Las Vegas, Tokyo and Glasgow.
Cornal Hendricks offers pace to burn for the Blitzbokke © Getty Images
Lewis Holland (Australia)
After battling injuries, Lewis Holland is in his third season on the international Sevens circuit. Rising through the ranks of the IRB Junior World Championship, Holland was among the top five try scorers for the 2012-2013 season, and this glitzy scrum-half is key to Australia's hopes though the season.
Lewis Holland is a key to the Thunderbolts' campaign in 2013-2014 © Getty Images
Kayla McAlister (New Zealand)
A netball player turned rugby star, McAlister played a major part in the New Zealand women's victories in the Rugby World Cup Sevens and the inaugural Women's Sevens World Series. The sister of the former All Blacks playmaker Luke McAllister, she won the inaugural IRB Women's Rugby Sevens Player of the Year award and found herself in the top five try scorers.
Kayla McAlister has a rich family heritage in rugby union © Getty Images
Miles Craigwell (USA)
A former NFL player, Craigwell has made his way through the rugby circuit in the States, competing in club competitions as well as winning the USA Rugby Men's Senior Club Sevens Championship, at which he was named tournament MVP. He has played in the USA Sevens side since 2010, becoming an instrumental player with exceptional pace and a quick step to get through the defence.
Miles Craigwell is a danger even to the best defence © Getty Images
Tiana Penitani (Australia)
Penitani was a part of the 2013 Australian Olympic Youth Festival gold-medal winning Sevens team, after which she was added to the Australian women's squad and took the field in Hong Kong, England and Amsterdam before her selection for the World Cup. At only 17-years-old, she was the youngest representative in history at either a 15-a-side or Sevens World Cup.
Tiana Penitani has already made rugby history for Australia © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd