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Sevens coach wants Wallabies stars

  
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5/17/2011
By AAP Media Unit


Boom Wallabies Digby Ioane, David Pocock and James O'Connor are being sized up for Commonwealth Games duty along with Matt Giteau, to bolster Australia's improving Sevens squad.

Coach Michael O'Connor guided Australia to the semi-finals at Las Vegas on the weekend, their best result in two years on the IRB Sevens circuit, and believes they would be genuine gold medal contenders in Delhi with the addition of a couple of Test stars.

At the 2006 Melbourne Games, Giteau, Lote Tuqiri, Chris Latham and Scott Fava were four Test players thrown into the Sevens squad in a move which had mild success, resulting in a fourth-place finish.

Pleased with the progress of his young squad, O'Connor doesn't feel the need to include as many Wallabies in Delhi in October, but has told the Australian Rugby Union's high-performance unit he was keen for a big-name boost.

He would even love to educate Queensland winger Ioane and Western Force flanker Pocock, who have limited Sevens experience, on the run in between the end of the Wallabies Tri-Nations campaign and their Spring Tour of Europe.

"I've had that discussion with the ARU and I'm very interested in one or two," he told AAP.

"There are players there who have played Sevens before who are good Sevens players and there are players who haven't but I have no doubt they would be good Sevens players - the obvious examples are Digby Ioane and David Pocock."

O'Connor said Ioane's strength and speed made him a Sevens natural while Pocock, who has unseated George Smith as the Wallabies ball scavenger, "ticks all the boxes."

"I think Dave Pocock would be an absolutely fantastic Sevens player," he said.

"He's extremely fit, strong over the ball, quick, he played in the centres at school, and he's smart and would learn quickly.

"Gits has played and is good at Sevens, James O'Connor has played a bit of Sevens and he'd be great."

The main stumbling block is Wallabies coach Robbie Deans preparation schedule for the Spring Tour, which will include Tests against England, Italy, France and possibly also Wales and the All Blacks.

The Wallabies are scheduled to leave for Europe on October 30, more than three weeks after the Sevens are played at Delhi, but Deans' first training camp is due to start in Sydney on October 4.

O'Connor would require his full squad to attend a 10-day pre-Games camp in late September in Darwin, to include a mini-tournament against other Games rivals.

"Sevens is a game we don't play a lot in Australia and there are nuances that you can only learn by playing the game," he said.

"I've taken on Super 14 players who don't aim up with the fitness aspect of it."

Ioane last played Sevens in 2003 but quickly put his hand up on Wednesday.

"I would love to, it would just depend on how it panned out with the Test season," he said.

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© 2010 AAP

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