Holland, Parahi locked in for Las Vegas

by Sam Phillips

Australian Men's Sevens captain Lewis Holland headlines three inclusions in coach Andy Friend's squad for next weekend's Las Vegas 7s.

Holland did not feature in Hamilton after leading his side to their first World Series title in five years at the Sydney 7s, his workload managed by strength and conditioning staff.

The same goes for Jesse Parahi and the pair were missed in New Zealand, though the team fought hard to claim bronze in their absence.

The experienced pair will be flanked by the inclusion of Jeral Skelton, who will earn his second World Series cap.The Australians will be without Maurice Longbottom in Las Vegas. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe trio come in for Maurice Longbottom, Sam Myers and Sam Croke, who have all picked up injuries.

"It’s fantastic to have Lewis and Jesse back in the squad," Friend said.

"They bring such a wealth of experience to the group which provides that added confidence to the team.

"As we saw in Cape Town for his debut, Jeral is a quality young player. I'm excited for him with his selection, and I know he'll be out to prove his worth again."The Australians will become the hunted in Las Vegas. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe Australians will have a target on their back after consecutive podium finishes and Friend said they must fire in Vegas to validate their improved showings.

"We've had two great events back-to-back, but the reality of that is those results only heighten other teams awareness of us, as well as their desire to knock us off," Friend said.

"There’s some real momentum for us right now which is great heading into the Commonwealth Games, but we know that in Sevens, that can evaporate after just one poor day.

"We've got to make sure that doesn't happen."

SQUAD

Australian Men's Sevens squad for the Las Vegas 7s

1. Charlie Taylor, 9 caps, Manly NSW

2. Tom Connor, 2 caps, Warringah NSW

3. Jeral Skelton, 1 cap, Brothers QLD

4. Lewis Holland, 34 caps, Queanbeyan

5. James Stannard, 45 caps, Souths QLD

6. John Porch, 12 caps, Norths NSW

7. Tim Anstee, 14 caps, Eastwood NSW

8. Jesse Parahi, 37 caps, Norths NSW

9. Dylan Pietsch, 6 caps, Randwick NSW

10. Ben O’Donnell, 4 caps, Randwick NSW

11. Tom Lucas, 21 caps, Sunnybank QLD

12. Lachie Anderson, 11 caps, Eastwood NSW

13th man. Brandon Quinn, 5 caps, Gordon NSW

FIXTURES

Las Vegas 7s fixtures

Saturday 3 March

Australia v Spain, 3.50am AEDT

Australia v USA, 6.51am AEDT

Sunday 4 March

Australia v Samoa, 12.26am AEDT

All matches will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.