Trio chase Games glory on Gold Coast

By Mark Elson   |   Senior Reporter   |
Wednesday 4th April 2018 9:07 am
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Hallam Amos has headed Down Under for the Commonwealth Games.

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RUGBY star Hallam Amos is looking forward to "a brilliant Commonwealth Games experience" Down Under with the Wales sevens squad, alongside two other Wyedean sports stars.

The Gold Coast Games begin today with the opening ceremony, and the former Monmouth School head boy is joined by Old Monmothian track cyclist Lewis Oliva and Monmouth School for Girls netball coach Chelsea Lewis in the Wales team.

Amos, who played in all four of Wales’ 2017 autumn rugby Tests, but missed out during the recent Six Nations, has been called up alongside back row star Justin Tipuric to join the sevens squad.

“I remember in the Olympics watching ‘Cubby’ (James Davies) and a couple of other 15-aside boys playing and I thought that I’d love to do it,” said the back.

“I knew that the Commonwealths was in a couple of years and that it would be cracking to get involved in it, but didn’t really think about it then a text came from sevens coach Gareth Williams.

“He spoke to Bernard Jackman, the Dragons coach, who was brilliant and said that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, go for it. Warren Gatland (Wales national coach) was the same. Everyone has been very supportive and I am looking forward to it.

"With the athletes’ village, it sounds great fun and I’ve got friends doing cycling and swimming," said the 23-year-old.

"I know a couple of the netball girls, so it’s going to be brilliant wandering round and seeing different events."

Despite his 15-a-side status, the Dragons player is not taking a place in the starting seven for granted, having not played the shortened format in six seasons, when he was still at Monmouth School

"We’ve got two weeks out there training. Tips and myself haven’t played sevens for a while, and Dragons flanker James Benjamin is in the same position, so we’ll get used to playing again and hopefully it’ll be good fun."

Wales’ men play Uganda and Sri Lanka in their pool matches on Saturday, April 14, before top seeds Fiji.

"They’ll be pretty good, and with one team going through that’ll be like a quarter-final, so if you win that, you get two shots at a medal. That’ll be a massive game.

"But we have some outstanding players in our core sevens team. Luke Morgan has been on fire this year and hopefully Tips, Jumbo (James Benjamin) and myself can add a bit to that."

Lewis Oliva and the track cycling team are in action from April 5 to 8, with the British champion keirin competing in his event on Friday (April 6).

Before jetting off to Australia, the 25-year-old from Devauden said: "This is my third Commonwealth Games and it’s really exciting to be named in the team.

"The Commonwealth Games presents a huge opportunity to top this season off. It’s always extra special to pull on the Welsh jersey, a proud moment for any Welshman."

Chelsea Lewis and the Wales netball team start their pool campaign on Friday (April 6) against world silver medallists New Zealand,followed by Scotland on Saturday (April 7), England on Monday (April 9) and Malawi on Wednesday (April 11).

The 24-year-old competed four years ago in the Glasgow Games, and said she "can’t wait" for the Gold Coast event to start.

The goal shooter for high-flying Team Bath in the Vitality Netball Superleague wasn’t originally available for the Games, but changed her mind on taking a six-month international sabbatical last month.

She said: “I’ve been in Wales’ senior squad since I was 16, but you can never take your place for granted and you have to continue to work hard and always strive to improve.

“My career highlight was winning my first cap for Wales but I’ve been fortunate to have been to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and also two World Cups.”

Lewis, who played with Celtic Dragons for five years before moving to Team Bath, started her coaching role at Monmouth School for Girls last year.

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