Wallabies flyer Henry Speight will not play in this weekend’s Oceania sevens tournament but his namesake teammate is set to make his fully-fledged sevens debut.
Australia has named its 12-man squad for this weekend’s tournament in Auckland, Tom Lucas (hamstring), Sam Myers and Henry Speight missing out from the initial extended squad.
Teenager Henry Hutchison will play his first fully-fledged tournament, after signing a full-time contract in July and impressing in the recent Central Coast Sevens, named player of the final.
Interim men’s sevens coach Tim Walsh said the youngster had shown his versatility in a short time in sevens.
“He offers a real balance of attack and defence he’s a strong little fellow and really quick,” he said.
“He’s dangerous with the ball but in defence he does well turning over the ball as well.
“In terms of sevens, he’s offering a lot and becoming the complete player.
Returning from the World Cup last week, Speight was only likely to play a limited role in the tournament but has been involved in training throughout the week to try and familiarise himself with his teammates and the systems.
Walsh said Speight would benefit from his involvement in the program.
“It’s a bit different for Henry coming in so quickly to understand sevens and the policies in the structures which he run,” he said.
“It’s just a great opportunity for Henry to understand sevens and get a look in. been exceptional in not just his adaption to the team but in his role.
“He wants to be the best sevens player he can be.”
‘He’s been on the front foot at looking at how it works and he wants to get involved.
“It’s a credit to Henry in how he wants to be involved and really showcase his skills which all in good time he will.”
A win in this weekend’s Oceania tournament would guarantee the men’s sevens team a spot in the Rio Olympics, with the next qualification chance not until June.
Walsh said his team had faith that they would be able to clinch that Rio berth in Auckland.
“There’s a strong belief there and they are confident of performing,” he said.
“They’ve prepared really well ….physically and mentally they’re there and preparation breeds confidence.
“They don’t have complacency but it’s just a nice balance of confidence.”
Fans can catch both days from Auckland LIVE on FOX SPORTS (8.00am-5.00pm AEDT).
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens fixtures in Auckland, New Zealand, 14 November:
Australia v Nauru, 9.50am AEDT
Australia v Cook Islands, 12.26pm AEDT
Australia v Tonga, 3.02pm AEDT
Final Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens squad for the Oceania Regional Olympic Qualifier at the Trusts Arena in Waitakere, Auckland
Cameron Clark. Club: Northern Suburbs, NSW. Hometown: Sydney, NSW
Tom Cusack. Club: Canberra Royals, ACT. Hometown: Canberra, ACT
Allan Fa'alava'au. Club: Endeavour Hills, VIC. Hometown: Melbourne, VIC
Con Foley. Club: University of Queensland, QLD. Hometown: Fairfield, QLD
Pama Fou. Club: Souths, QLD. Hometown: Brisbane, QLD.
Lewis Holland. Club: Queanbeyan Whites, NSW. Hometown: Queanbeyan, NSW
Henry Hutchison. Club: Randwick, NSW. Hometown: Crows Nest, NSW
Greg Jeloudev. Club: Sydney University. Hometown: Sydney, NSW
Ed Jenkins. Club: Sydney University, NSW. Hometown: Sydney, NSW
Jesse Parahi. Club: Northern Suburbs, NSW. Hometown: Avoca Beach, NSW
James Stannard. Club: Souths, QLD. Hometown: Brisbane, QLD
Michael Wells. Club: Northern Suburbs, NSW. Hometown: Sydney, NSW