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By ARU Media Unit
Australian Sevens forward Ed Quirk hopes a top performance from his side at the Adelaide Sevens this weekend will prove youth and inexperience don’t always go hand in hand.
Quirk, 18, made his debut for the Australian Sevens last year and has played each of the four tournaments so far on the IRB Sevens World Series in 2009/10 alongside captain Patrick McCutcheon, Brackin Karauria-Henry and Jacob Taylor.
Fresh from after achieving their best result of the series in Las Vegas last month, where Karauria-Henry scored a hat trick of tries against France, Quirk says Australia will perform even better with a vocal home crowd behind them.
“We’re looking to win the tournament for sure,” Quirk said.
“We’ve been playing some really great football and being in Adelaide, this is our main event because we’re at home, it really means a lot to us to do well.
“We want to show everyone that we’re one of the best teams out there.
“It’s going to be great seeing the home crowd enjoying themselves, it fuels you that little bit more, to do a bit better and to fight harder.”
With an average age of 20.3, coach Michael O’Connor’s squad might be the youngest on the circuit, but they’re steadily on the rise.
Australia sit just four points behind England on the Series points table and a solid performance at home will see them overtake their arch-rivals and climb into fourth place.
The Aussies fell to England in the Plate Final at last year’s International Rugby Sevens Adelaide, and they’re particularly keen to reverse the score should they get the chance.
But even collecting a season-high 16 points from their semi-final appearance against eventual champions Samoa in Las Vegas, Quirk feels Australia are yet to shake the unwanted tag of being “young and inexperienced”.
“I think that when people say we’re young, they think there’s not enough experience in the side, but that doesn’t really matter, there’s a few of us who have played every tournament this Series and that’s plenty of experience,” he said.
"It just fuels me to drive harder and better against the older guys in the other teams to sort of prove a point.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re young, you can still handle the big league.”
Samoa and France are the first of eight pool matches to be played at Adelaide Oval tonight with Australia set to kick off their campaign at Adelaide Oval tonight (8.34pm CST) against Niue.
New Zealand, who claimed the opening two events in Dubai and South Africa, are on top of the IRB Series standings with 84 points. Samoa (70) are in second and Pacific Island heavyweights Fiji (68) third.
Australia: Patrick McCutcheon (captain), Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, Tala Gray, James Stannard, Sam Latunipulu, Robbie Coleman, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Ed Stubbs, Kimami Sitauti, Dominic Shipperley, Jacob Taylor.
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.