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By ARU Media Unit
The 2013 - 2014 HSBC World Sevens Series resumes in Las Vegas on Friday 24 – Sunday 26 January (PST), with the Qantas Men’s Sevens set to face the giants of Rugby Sevens, New Zealand and Fiji, on the first day of the tournament.
In addition to the Pacific heavyweights, the team will vie against Scotland in Pool B for a place in the knockout stages of the competition.
With three rounds of the series complete, New Zealand (58) leads the competition ladder, with South Africa (56) second, followed by Fiji (48) in third. England (40) lies in fourth, with Australia (34) rounding out the top five.
Las Vegas will be the fourth time in as many tournaments that Australia will play Scotland, having drawn 21 – 21 in the Gold Coast, followed by a 17 – 21 loss and a 31 – 19 victory in Dubai and South Africa respectively.
Three replacements and one enforced change have been made to the side that competed in South Africa with Sean McMahon, Luke Morahan and James Stannard replaced by familiar Sevens representatives, Allan Fa’alava’au, Cameron Clark and Peter Schuster.
Sean McMahon and Luke Morahan step down as they return to Super Rugby duties with the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.
The experienced Jordan Tuapou replaces Captain Ed Jenkins, who is unavailable due to injury.
“As with every athlete, injury is a part of the game that everyone has to deal with. I’m disappointed I won’t be playing in Las Vegas, but I am confident in the team that will be representing Australia and look forward to seeing the guys out there,” Ed said.
2013 Qantas Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, Con Foley, and the top try scorer in South Africa, Shannon Walker, will lead an Australian line-up with all players having HSBC Sevens World Series experience.
Qantas Men’s Sevens Head Coach, Michael O’Connor, said that having an experienced pool of players available to call upon for the series is invaluable in preparing for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“Rugby Sevens requires athletes with specific skill sets and physical attributes. It’s great to be able to consistently select players who have these capabilities,” Michael said.
“Although we select squads for tournaments on its merits, we have to keep competitions outside of the series in mind. This includes the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
“Developing the depth and talent pool to allow me to select specialist Sevens players for each tournament, builds a platform to win tournaments and gold medals,” Michael said.
The draw for Rugby Sevens at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games sees Australia up against England, Sri Lanka and Uganda in Pool D, with tournament dates and the match schedule to be announced next month.
Fans can watch the Las Vegas action live on Fox Sports from 10.55am on Saturday 25, 6.55am on Sunday 26 and 4.10am on Monday 27 January (AEDT). All matches will be streamed live at www.irbsevens.com
Australia will take on New Zealand at 11.44am Saturday 25 January, followed by Fiji at 3.02pm (AEDT).
The next HSBC Sevens World Series tournament for the Qantas Men’s Sevens team will take place in Wellington, New Zealand on Friday 7 – Saturday 8 February.
The Qantas Women’s Sevens will start their 2014 year in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Saturday 15 – Sunday 16 February.
Follow the Qantas Men’s and Women’s Sevens with updates on Twitter @Aussie7s
Qantas Men’s Sevens for the 2013 – 2014 HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas, Georgia, USA
University of Queensland, QLD
Northern Suburbs, NSW
Endeavour Hills, VIC
Sydney University, NSW
Southern Districts, NSW
The Australian Sports Commission is proud to support the ARU’s National Rugby Sevens program by providing funding and direct athlete support as part of Australia’s Winning Edge game plan for moving from world class to world best