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Rugby: Pesamino, Caucau to star for Asia Pacific Dragons in Singapore

Mikaele Pesamino, a two-time winner of the Hong Kong Sevens, was 2010 IRB Player of the Year after helping Samoa win the 2009-10 Sevens World Series and finishing as the series' top try scorer.

Mikaele Pesamino, a two-time winner of the Hong Kong Sevens, was named 2010 IRB Player of the Year after helping Samoa win the 2009-10 Sevens World Series and finishing as the series’ top try scorer. Photo: AFP.

October 16, 2013: Samoan sevens star Mikaele Pesamino and legendary Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca have been named in an Asia Pacific Dragons squad that has been accepted as a late entry into the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby 7s (‘SCC 7s’), which will be held at the Padang from November 1-3.


A team from the Royal Navy ship HMS Daring, which will be stopping over in Singapore as part of its tour of duty, has replaced Hong Kong Barbarians in a line-up featuring teams from Australia (seven), New Zealand (two), UK (two), Malaysia (two), Asia-Pacific, Fiji, France, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore, represented by host club SCC.


The Asia Pacific Dragons appear the immediate front-runners to end the two-year reign of Fiji’s Daveta as Ablitt Cup champions at the Padang, where Auckland and Penguins will also be among the contenders.


The Dragons – the latest name for the all-star side who have competed at the last three GFI HKFC Tens in Hong Kong, where they won in 2012 – include current and former internationals from Fiji, Samoa and Japan and other Asia-Pacific nations.


However, Singapore will mark the first time Pesamino and ‘Caucau’ have competed for the Dragons, so fans at the SCC 7s will enjoy a rare treat of watching two of the finest attacking players from the past decade.


Caucau, who has been in strong form for New Zealand club Northland this year, believes the newcomers can make a mark in their Singapore debut at the Padang.


“I’m very honoured to be coming to the SCC 7s for the first time with the Dragons, and I’m looking forward to playing at one of the best tournaments in the world. We are definitely looking to win it,” Caucau said.


Caucau, 33, was regarded as the most dangerous attacking player in the world in his prime. The strongly built, 1.80-metre winger played Super Rugby for the Blues from 2002 to 2004, and starred for Fiji at the 2003 World Cup.


After moving to France to play for Agen, he was the Top 14’s leading try scorer in both the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. This year, Caucau has impressed in the ITM Cup, New Zealand’s top domestic competition, after returning to former club Northland, who will be among the teams at the SCC 7s.


Pesamino, 29, was the top try scorer (56) in the 2009-2010 HSBC Sevens World Series, his pace helping Samoa win the series crown for the first time after they triumphed in tournaments in USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Scotland. He was named 2010 IRB Sevens Player of the Year.


The 1.88-metre winger – who also helped Samoa win in Hong Kong in 2007 – played for Samoa as recently as the Glasgow Sevens and London Sevens in May, and is fifth on the list of all-time try scorers on the Sevens World Series.


Even with Caucau and Pesamino in their line-up, the Asia Pacific Dragons will face a stiff challenge. Defending champions Daveta will again be among the favourites and traditionally feature several current and former Fiji internationals.


New Zealand sides Auckland and Northland will also be top challengers. Auckland reached the final of the inaugural World Cup 7s in August behind Orene Ai’I, the inspired play of another former IRB World Sevens Player of the Year.


SCC Sevens, Padang, Singapore – Confirmed Teams (by country)

Asia Pacific Dragons (Asia Pacific), Casuarina Cougars (Australia), Cottesloe (Australia), East Arnhem (Australia), NS Silverbacks (Australia), Palmyra (Australia), Randwick (Australia), Sunnybank (Australia), Daveta (Fiji), France Development U20 (France), Pyrenees (France), Kenya Impala (Kenya), Borneo Eagles (Malaysia), NS Wanderers (Malaysia), Auckland (New Zealand), Northland (New Zealand), SCC (Singapore), Western Province (South Africa), Penguins (UK), HMS Daring (UK)


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