Sevens coach Andy Friend believes injured Sevens star Nick Malouf can reach a comeback of David Pocock proportions, after the star forward’s Olympic dream was dashed this week.
Malouf suffered a second ACL injury in less than a year in training on Monday, less than a year after his first, ending his hopes of a Rio berth.
Friend said Malouf, who had played every Sevens World Series match in the past two seasons, had the mental toughness to scale the Sevens mountain again.
“It’s really disappointing, he’s so professional and so diligent. It can be a cruel sport,” he said.
“You look at David Pocock - he’s gone through the same thing and at the World Cup, he played some of his best rugby.
“Nick’s that sort of bloke, he’s got a similar great mental toughness and he takes so much pride in his own performance.
In better news for the Sevens, Nick Cummins and young speedster Henry Hutchison should be available for Paris, depending on how they train on Friday.
Pama Fou is also set to return from a shoulder injury for the final tournament in London, after surgery last December.
Friend said Fou was back training and just needed to continue to work hard before making his World Series return.
“Pama at a stretch could be in for Paris but the medical staff are happy with his progress and he’s physically in great shape,” he said.
“He looks great but it’s going to take a little bit of time to have confidence in that shoulder.”
Quade Cooper’s availability is still being nutted out for the final two tournaments, with an agreement with French club Toulon yet to be reached.
After the end of the World Series, the Aussie men will play an in-house trial that mimics the Rio schedule before heading to Doha for a final camp that will decide the Olympics squad.
Those trials will hopefully give players like Greg Jeloudev (foot), Lewis Holland (syndesmosis) and Henry Speight (face) a chance to push their Rio chances and return some match fitness.
The Aussie Sevens finished seventh in the recent Singapore Sevens, with an inexperienced squad and Friend said they’d take the result with a grain of salt.
“We want to be making semi-finals and Cup finals,” he said.
“We were disappointed with that but at the same time it’s all part of the development and it’s in losses that you do your best learning.”
Australia’s Men’s Sevens leave for Paris at the end of next week ,with the tournament starting on May 13.