Former England star Ben Gollings, who scored 2652 points including 220 tries during his IRB Sevens career, has been confirmed to play alongside ‘the Maestro’ Waisale Serevi in next week’s Fiji Coral Coast Sevens.
The duo will team up for the Seattle-based Serevi Selects who have been drawn in Pool F with Police (Suva), New Zealand-based Lomaiviti Barbarians and the Outrigger on the Lagoon.
Jay Whyte, Chairman of Fiji’s Coral Coast Sevens, said Gollings’ presence added to the excitement of the tournament.
“Ben has always expressed his desire to come to Fiji and we are delighted that he will get the chance to reunite with Serevi on the pitch,” he said. “Fijian fans have followed his career from afar for many years and they will appreciate the chance to finally see him in the Islands.
“Serevi is a true icon in his native Fiji and his friendship with Ben gives fans yet another reason to come to the third Coral Coast Sevens.”
Gollings, who will be making his first visit to Fiji, joins Jonah Lomu, the world’s first global rugby superstar, as the major drawcards for the 24-team tournament.
Eight overseas teams and 16 local sides will play in the ‘champion of champions’ with the winners of the Central Coast Sevens, Borneo Sevens and Singapore Cricket Club Sevens joining reigning champions Wardens Gold on November 15-17 at Lawaqa Park.
Eight women’s teams, from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand, will also play over the three days.
“Ben has been a wonderful player and I used to always tell the boys ‘watch Ben, whether he gives it or doesn’t give it just go to him’,” Serevi told Shaw TV when the pair teamed up in the Serevi Vancouver International Sevens. “Our rivalry on the field was always strong and I remember winning the RWC Sevens in Hong Kong in 2005 and coming back the next year to try and win the prizemoney but in the last minute Ben scored under the posts and they won!”
“There’s a famous of picture of me stretched out trying to tackle him as he scored in 2005 so it was good to get one back the next year,” laughed Gollings. “There will always be our rivalry but it is fantastic to team up with my great friend Serevi for this tournament. We look forward to going out and expressing ourselves on the field together.”
Gollings is now coaching the Sri Lanka national sevens team and took his team to a Plate victory over China at the Asian RWC Sevens qualifier in Singapore over the weekend.
Former USA captain Matt Hawkins, former Fiji captain Emosi Vucago and ex-Fiji internationals Filimoni Botitu and Isimeli Daveta are also expected to line up for Serevi Selects.
Tickets for the tournament are on sale from all of the major resorts along the Coral Coast with the early-bird special ($20 for three days) closing on Wednesday.
POOLS FOR THE FIJI CORAL COAST SEVENS
A: Wardens Gold, Sunnybank, Red Rock II, Naviti
B: Aussie Thunderbolts, Auckland Marist, Sigatoka River Safari Navosa, Hideaway Hurricanes
C: Tonga Aoniu, Daveta, Pacific Warriors, Warwick
D: Westfield Barbarians, Wardens Green, Navy, MRDC Black Pearls
E: Red Rock, Hydro, Nabua, Dritabua
F: Serevi Select, Police, Lomaiviti Barbarians, Outrigger
G: Aussie Pearls, Pacific Two Blues, Lady Babas, Sunnybank
H: Marist Seahawks, Sydney University, Auckland Marist, Striders