The squads that will represent Australia at the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) Noosa International Sevens (3-5 October) have been announced, with three new faces named in Geraint John’s Men’s squad.
Michael Wells, who last week signed a full-time contract with the Sevens program, has been named in John’s squad. Forward Harry Bergelin, from the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays, and winger Alex Northam will also join the squad for the trip to Queensland.
Allan Fa’alava’au returns to action after a lay-off with a shoulder injury, while Paul Asquith, Tom Lucas and Nick Malouf have also been selected.
Former Men’s Sevens Head Coach Michael O’Connor will lead the side in Noosa with John assuming a watching brief.
Men’s Sevens Head Coach Geraint John said: “I’ll be looking to involve all of the squad over the course of the FORU event and the Gold Coast Sevens. Make no mistake, the event in Noosa is a real chance for the players to impress me ahead of the Gold Coast.”
On Harry Bergelin and Alex Northam, John added: “Harry has been involved with the Sevens program before. He has a good engine, he has the ability to win line-outs and can win restarts which is so important. Alex is renowned for his pace. He impressed during last year’s Shute Shield and comes highly recommended. I’m looking forward to seeing how both cope with the demands of Rugby Sevens over the course of the weekend in Noosa.”
Meanwhile, Women’s Head Coach Tim Walsh has named a strong Australian squad that will travel to the Sunshine Coast.
IRB Women’s Sevens Player of the Year Emilee Cherry, skipper Sharni Williams and Charlotte Caslick have all been named. Australian Youth Olympic co-captain Brooke Anderson has also been selected.
Saofaiga Saemo returns from injury having been absent from the squad since February, while former basketball player Chloe Dalton, from Mona Vale in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, has also been selected.
Tim Walsh said: “This will be great preparation for Dubai and is a competition we will be taking very seriously. It will be an opportunity for us to put into practice everything we have been doing in training during our first ever full pre-season as a squad.
“Chloe [Dalton] has been performing well in training to earn her selection and offers a good point of different with her height. In my opinion, she is a formidable player in terms of her stature.”
The Australian Men’s side have been drawn in Pool C of the FORU tournament alongside Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia while the Women’s side will play in a round-robin against New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands and Tonga.
The Noosa International Sevens will serve as ideal preparation for the forthcoming IRB Sevens World Series, with the Men’s campaign kicking-off a week later in the Gold Coast and the Women’s season starting in Dubai in early December.
The Women’s Sevens program will also be sending another team playing under the banner of the Aussie Pearls at the Noosa International Sevens tournament. Team news will be posted on rugby.com.au/sevens on Monday.
FORU Noosa International Sevens squads
Men’s: Paul Asquith, Harry Bergelin, Allan Fa’alava’au, Alex Gibbon, Tom Lucas, Nick Malouf, Sam Myers, Alex Northam, Afa Pakalani, Peter Schuster, Lausii Taliauli, Michael Wells
Women’s: Brooke Anderson, Charlotte Caslick, Emilee Cherry, Chloe Dalton, Gemma Etheridge, Ellia Green, Shannon Parry, Evania Pelite, Alicia Quirk, Saofaiga Saemo, Emma Tonegato, Sharni Williams
For more information on the Noosa International Sevens tournament, visit http://www.noosainternationalsevens.com.au/