No red carpet for Wallabies Sevens inclusions

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

First it was Henry Speight, then Quade Cooper and Nick Cummins is still to come into the Sevens fold but captain Ed Jenkins says his side won’t be surrendering their spots to Wallabies easily.

While Jenkins said he welcomed the profile boost that players like the Wallabies trio would bring to Sevens, they wouldn’t have a magic carpet ride into the Olympics.

Speight has been the most regular fixture in the Sevens side, training full-time with the squad since November last year and making his World Series debut in Dubai.

New coach Andy Friend hasn’t closed the door on more new faces coming into the squad and Jenkins said there was no certainties in selection anymore.

“Other guys there that have been performing really well for a number of years so I think they're still going to be fighting for their spots,” he said.

“No-one’s going to lay down and just surrender their spot to a Wallaby that’s for sure.

“It’s up to Friendy when he names our squad for the Olympics whether he opts for experience or for guys with X-Factor.”

Jenkins said the squad welcomed the competition that the additions had brought to the squad, something that has been rare in the past.

“I think definitely,” he said.

“Guys are not put on notice but once a guy comes in and he’s fighting for your position the whole intensity of the session lifts and guys are fighting for spots which we haven’t had before.

“On a whole it does make it a lot stronger and better for Australian Sevens.”

Jenkins said he had been impressed with Cooper in his first session with the side, after spending the better part of  the previous 24 hours on a plane.

“To hop off the plane and strap on the boots with us I thought he did really well,” he said.

“Obviously he’s got the x-factor and that’s what you need in Sevens.

 “If we can get him in that ball playing position and guys could feed off him there, I think it does give us a lot of extra firepower in that position.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if he can bring it on the field.”

The media scrum that turned up to Sevens training on Wednesday said everything about the drawcard potential of players like Cooper but Jenkins said that wouldn’t guarantee anything.

“If it’s building the profile of the sport and getting more attention (it’s great),” he said.

“You talk about these names all the time but they haven’t been selected for the Olympics.

“We’re still a long way out from that. If they're going to bring more spotlight on Sevens, then it’s all well and good.”