The Australian Men’s Sevens side for the North American leg of the World Series is a mix of old and new with experienced heads returning from injury and new pups retaining their positions after an impressive showing in Sydney.
Coach Andy Friend has welcomed back 74 caps of experience with Ed Jenkins, Nick Malouf and Tom Lucas all named to make their return for the Las Vegas tournament next weekend.
“Welcoming Ed, Nick and Tom back into the side will add some extra experience to the squad and will give our young guys a great opportunity to continue to learn from the experienced players,” he said.
After doing an ACL in September 2015, Malouf returned to the squad for the trip to Rio last July, but then succumbed to further injury following the Olympic Games.
For the first time this series there are no debutants named in the Aussie squad - while the three from the Sydney tournament have been given another chance to further impress the coach.
Those three, Liam McNamara, Brabdon Quinn and Lachlan Anderson, all scored tries on home soil and contributed with confidence and growing talent to the laudable fourth-place finish.
“Our younger players are continuing to learn the game of Sevens and conditioning themselves for the rigours of the World Series and we expect to see continued improvement from the team,”he said.
Sam Myers will return to his captain’s post on the field supported ably by the evergreen veteran James Stannard who silenced the nay-sayers in Sydney with a weekend of endurance on the field that belied his 34 years.
Nineteen-year-old Tim Anstee, who thrilled the crowd with a hat-trick of tries against Wales in the quarter-finals at home, will also be looking to underline that performance with this opportunity being offered over this next fortnight.
Former captain Jenkins will run out for the first time in 2017 having recovered from a niggling shoulder injury suffered in Cape Town which kept him out of Sydney and Wellington.
Australia has been drawn in Pool D alongside Fiji, Japan and Scotland and so will again face a tough first day at the office in trying to make the quarter finals.
Qantas Australian Men’s squad, HSBC Las Vegas Sevens
Pool Round – Saturday/Sunday 4-5 March (AEDT)
Australia v Scotland, Pool D, Saturday 11.31am (AEDT)
Australia v Japan, Pool D, Saturday 2.30pm (AEDT)
Australia v Fiji, Pool D, Sunday 8.50am (AEDT)