The road to Rio starts here!

by staff

The time for talking is nearly over. Olympic qualification is up for grabs.

Geraint John and his Qantas Australian Men's Sevens side open the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series on home soil this weekend on the Gold Coast.

A fierce pre-season and a week of solid training and preparation at Bond University and Cbus Super Stadium in south-east Queensland has seen the Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallists head into the new season with optimism.

Twelve months ago, Australia began the series by reaching the Cup Final on the Gold Coast before losing to New Zealand on their way to finishing fifth in the standings.

John, for whom this will be his first IRB World Series tournament as Head Coach following his appointment in June, last night trimmed down his squad to 12 men, with Paul Asquith the 13th man. Tough 21-year-old forward Michael Wells, signed last month, will debut.

The Gold Coast leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series is the first in the Olympic qualification process for Rio 2016, with only the top four countries at the end of the season season joining Brazil at Rio 2016.

With tickets still available for this weekend's festival of Rugby, what do the Australian Men's side think about the Gold Coast Sevens this weekend?

Ed Jenkins: "I think every team has a real chance. It has been a long off-season and everyone is eager to prove themselves in the opening round."

Con Foley: "We don't want to be too predictable. Teams do their homework and their analysis pretty well all the time. You can get found out. You've got to keep them guessing."

Pama Fou: "I'm looking forward to getting on the pitch. It's been a while. I'm feeling pretty good."

Lewis Holland: "The main goal in the Gold Coast is obviously to win. It is going to be a tough tournament. We need to get off to a good start and would love to get local support behind us. It is going to be a great weekend and here's hoping there's plenty of action and good memories."

Tom Lucas: "There's nowhere like playing at home. Personally, I feel a massive difference in my game after a year on the Sevens circuit. I've learnt how to play in a team, and what to do when I'm on the field."

James Stannard: "It's good to have your own little cauldron that you come to play at and not let many people win."

Australian Men’s Sevens fixtures for the Gold Coast, Australia on 11-12 October:

Australia v Portugal, Pool C, 12.24pm (Local) / 1.24pm (AEST)

Australia v Scotland, Pool C, 3.45pm (Local) / 4.45pm (AEST)

Australia v Fiji, Pool C, 7.01pm (Local) / 8.01pm (AEST)

Revised squad: Cameron Clark, Tom Cusack, Con Foley, Pama Fou, Lewis Holland, Ed Jenkins, Tom Lucas, Nick Malouf, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi, James Stannard, Michael Wells (13th Man Paul Asquith)

Tickets for the Gold Coast Sevens are available via Ticketek and start from $35. If you can't make it to Cbus Super Stadium, all of the action will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS 2 from 1025am (NSW) / 925am (QLD).