The Army Men’s Sevens team has a new Head Coach, and Cpl Joseva Nayacavou (R Sigs) is looking forward to the challenge of taking the red shirt to a new level in 2023.
The red shirt has long been synonymous with excellence on the Rugby Sevens circuit, wowing supporters and winning silverware with the combinations of strength, skill and speed, year in, year out.
As a player Cpl Nayacavou was one of the key cogs which made the Army Sevens team one of the most respected outfits in the country, in the process showcasing the talent which would yield selection in the Scotland Sevens squad for 38 World Sevens Series events – including winning the 2016/17 London Sevens – and in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Jo playing for the Army at the Rugby Town 7s in Denver v the Cayman Islands in 2018.
Image © Alligin Photography
While he is relishing the opportunity to lead the squad and staff into the upcoming season, he is also well aware of the expectations which come with the role.
“It is a massive responsibility, because of the traditions of success that the Army Sevens team has,” he says. “But I also believe that the team is in a good place and that strong foundations have been laid by my predecessor, Damu. So while it is a challenge, it’s a good challenge.”
The Army’s calendar of fixtures has been released, and while the team will be seeking to retain its title at the Melrose Sevens – something which only three teams have done in the past 20 years – and returning to the Bournemouth Sevens, the red shirts will not be entering the Super Sevens Series.
“Every year we need to select which competitions the Army competes in, with many tournaments disappointed that we cannot bring the Army to their event,” explains Cpl Nayacavou. “The Super Sevens is a great series and provides superb opposition, however for this year we felt alternative competitions could offer us a better balance. High quality opposition remains essential but our planned schedule also generates a wider geographical reach from which to demonstrate and spread the Army Rugby brand.” Keeping the Army in the public eye lies at the heart of the Army Sevens mission within the Army Rugby Union, and this schedule shapes up to see them compete in front of some of the largest rugby sevens crowds in the UK.
“I’m especially looking forward to Bournemouth and Melrose in particular. Last year we gave our place at Bournemouth to UKAF so they could prepare for the World Military Sevens, so it will be good to go back there. It’s been a few years since we did well there, and it’s exciting to play in front of the big crowds that they get.
The Army were winners of the 2022 Melrose 7s.
Image © Rob Gray
“Melrose is a big tournament, and winning back-to-back doesn’t happen there very often. So if we could go and win there again it would be a big achievement for us.”
The Army Sevens team will be holding trials in March ahead of April’s Melrose Sevens, and Cpl Nayacavou is clear in what he will be looking for.
“You have to represent your Regiment and Corps, because you’re competing with elite players,” he says. “All I’m looking for is someone who can do the basics well, passing left and right with the same energy, and if you’ve got the right attitude and work ethic then you’d fit right in. You can’t teach attitude and how hard you’re willing to work. Everything else can be developed.”
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Army Sevens team, including the 2023 competition calendar.
Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks
Header and Featured Image – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn