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Battle of speed, flair and power at the Sam Boyd Stadium

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rugby Sevens may be best known for its speed, flair and modern touches, but when players are training fulltime in pursuit of success, power is another crucial factor with the big men up front and out wide leading the way.

With the narrowest pitch on the circuit at the Sam Boyd Stadium, home of the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series this weekend, power has always played a part in the winning side's campaign.

Whether it was Alafoti Fa'osiliva powering through the New Zealand defence to give Samoa the title in 2012, or Frankie Horne leading from the front in 2013, the physical encounters are always stepped up a notch in Las Vegas.

Here, we talk with Canada's John Moonlight and Horne himself, as well as coach's from Canada, South Africa and Samoa about the an attribute that gives sides another dynamic in the sport of Sevens.

John Moonlight, Canada: "My role is to open up space for other guys, or even for myself when I try to to cut through holes. I play more of a power game, hitting rucks, trying to break through those gaps — the stuff the smaller fast guys don't do all the time, I am always trying to make sure two guys tackle me, sucking defenders in, and it's the same with rucks trying to make sure we get the ball. Now you need these guys on the field and it adds another dynamic."

Frankie Horne, South Africa: "You have a certain respect for other bigger guys. You look at each other and it's kind of like you're big, I'm big. It is easier to stop a bigger guy, than it is a speedster, for sure. With a guy like Carlin Isles you know if you give him a 5-metre gap you're done for, but if you get in front of him as quick as you can it's a different story. You just have to play your strengths."

Viliamu Punivalu, Samoa coach: "I think every team understands how physical we can get, but that gap is closing up. Other teams have improved the way they train and we can't rely on our shear strength. If you can't go anywhere, you look to your powerful runners to penetrate and that is where they come in. It is important to have two powerful players in your side and if you have three you are a very lucky coach."

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