Sevens on the hunt for next generation

by Steve Stammers

While preparations for Rio 2016 are firmly front of mind for Aussie Sevens coach Andy Friend, planning for the post-Olympic period is well underway.

The Australian national side comprising of players looking to press their claims for Olympic selection take on an Australian Development side on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week in a six-match series at Sevens HQ in Narrabeen.

Hugh Carpenter will coach the development team for the three days and believes this is the ideal stage for the players to showcase what they can do against the best Sevens players in Australia.

"The objective is to allow Andy Friend to make his final selection decisions for Rio,” he said. “However, it is also a great opportunity to showcase some of our development players against the Australian team.

"It will give us a good indication of whether or not these players have the ability to play on the world stage - and what better way to prove yourself then playing in front of the national Sevens head coach?"

The players in the development side will feature an exciting mix of Premier Rugby talent, stars that represented Australia in the Commonwealth Youth Games last September as well as those heading to the World University Games next month in Wales.

With the World Series, 2018 Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens events on the horizon over the next two years, the global appeal of the game has never been so great- or demanding.

Carpenter ran the rule over some of the players that the national side should be wary of during the six games next week.

"Conor [Mitchell] played on the World Series in Vancouver in March and is keen to prove his worth in going forward. Tim Anstee, Lachlan Anderson, Harrison Goddard and Josh Coward played for Australia last year in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa. All four have a point to prove in matching it with the big boys and want to show they are ready for the international stage.

“Jack Curtin is certainly a player of interest and will likely play in the halves next week. Jack has already spend a week in training with the national team having impressed coach Andy Friend at the Kiama Sevens earlier in the year.

“Meanwhile, Tom Merritt has a rugby league background and impressed with Eastern Suburbs over the last two seasons. Tom played for the Aussie Thunderbolts rep side earlier in the year at the Coral Coast Sevens in Fiji - he's a tough boy and has speed to burn - something that every good Sevens team needs!”

Australian national side (from):

Tom Cusack, Sam Figg, Pama Fou, Greg Jeloudev, Boyd Killingworth, Tom Kingston, Nick Malouf, Pat McCutcheon, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi, John Porch, Henry Speight, Stefan van der Walt, Frank Winterstein. Supplementary players: Cameron Clark, Allan Fa'alava'au, Con Foley, Henry Hutchison, Ed Jenkins, James Stannard

Australian Development side (from):

Michael Adams, Lachlan Anderson, Tim Anstee, Tom Connor, Josh Coward, Jack Curtin, Adrian Delore, Fred Dorrough, Justin Fourie, Harrison Goddard, Matt Gonzales, Cohen Mason, Tom Merritt, Conor Mitchell, Tom Molloy, Andrew Muirhead, Matt Narracott, Jack Pennington, Brandon Quinn, Ratu Tagive, Charlie Taylor

Match times:

Monday 13 June: Game 1 - 1.30pm; Game 2 - 6.30pm

Tuesday 14 June: Game 3 - 2.30pm; Game 4 – 7.00pm

Wednesday 15 June: Game 5 – 10.00am; Game 6 - 1.30pm


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