GB going for Maccabiah gold
Team GB will be going for gold when they line up in the Open Rugby competition at the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel next month.
The squad will be managed by Jon Tyler, the Maccabi GB Rugby chairman and manager, in what will be his fifth Maccabiah as player or manager.
Tyler will be assisted by Mark Pettit, who will also serve as assistant-coach. He has semi-pro playing experience in New Zealand and at London Irish and has impressed as a player at the last two Maccabiot.
Also involved are the experienced Mike Filson and Jon Fienberg, who will be competing in their fifth and third Maccabiah Games respectively. The surprise package for Team GB will undoubtedly be Head Coach, Elvis Seveali'i, a Samoan international who has represented his country at two Rugby World Cups.
The side features a number of players who have played the game at a high standard and the players will be looking to avenge the silver medal they valiantly won in Israel at the Maccabiah Games in 2009.
Aaron Liffchak is another player to look out for. The ex-England Counties and Saracens player travels as player-coach and provides an unrivalled knowledge of the game along with a great set piece platform.
Jake Henry, who played in the England Students team this year, will represent GB Students in the Student Games in Moscow before flying out to meet the squad in Israel.
Guy Tyler will act as vice-captain in what will be his second Maccabiah Games. He made a huge impact for the back line in every match four years ago and since then has been asked to play for the Israeli National team.
GB captain Sam Katz was named ‘Most Outstanding Player of the Competition’ four years ago when he was only 18. Since then Sam has played National League rugby with Loughborough Students and Rosslyn Park. This year he was Vice Captain of England Students and also represented England University 7’s.
Katz commented: "I'm very proud to have been given the opportunity to captain my country for the 19th Maccabiah Games. My aim is to lead us to the gold medal that we were so close to winning four years ago.
"We have a relatively small squad compared to previous years, but one packed with talent across the board.
"There are a range of abilities from University level to National League players, which should mean that we have every chance of bringing back gold.
"We're absolutely buzzing about the addition of Elvis Seveali'i to our coaching set-up. He will add unbelievable experience and game management.
"The squad as a whole is a young one and more mobile than we've seen before. Fast and strong backs and aggressive forwards that can get around the park are going to provide a great combination.
"The boys have all been working hard on KPI testing to ensure we are the fittest team in Israel when we arrive.
"I am excited to represent the British Jewish Community and cannot wait to fly the flag for Team GB in Israel. There’s nothing quite like a Maccabiah Games."
For the first time at a Maccabiah, there will be a 15-a-side competition, featuring Australia, USA, South Africa, Canada, Israel, Chile and Great Britain plus a seven-a-side tournament, with USA, Israel, South Africa and Great Britain. All games are to be played at the Wingate Institute of Sport in Tel Aviv.
The GB squad is playing a warm-up match before they leave for Israel against a strong Invitational Team at the Allianz Park, home of the Saracens RFC, on Sunday 30th June. Kick off 600pm.
All support is welcome and entry is free.
TEAM GB OPEN RUGBY SQUAD:
Forwards: Aaron Cohen (Front Row), Jack Cohen (Front Row), Saul Gerald (Front Row), Nick Lewis (Front Row), Aaron Liffchak (Front Row), Dave Myers (Front Row), Adam Barnett (2nd Row), Alan Greenstein (2nd Row), Zak Nutley (2nd Row), Ben Chamberlain (Back Row), Max Hassell (Back Row), Aaron Radley (Back Row)
Backs: Mike Filson (Scrum Half), Zack Henry (Scrum Half), Sam Katz (Fly Half), Jon Fienberg (Centre), Guy Tyler (Centre), Adam Davidson (Centre/Back 3), Jake Henry (Centre/Back 3), Matthew Jacobs (Centre/Back 3), James Martin (Back 3)
Management: Jon Tyler (Team Manager), Elvis Seveali'i (Head Coach), Mark Pettit (Assistant Manager/Coach), Trevor Keys (Physio), Claudio Merkier (Chiro)