Badger faces uphill Rio battle

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Nick Cummins’s Olympic chances became a little slimmer on Tuesday, with the announcement of a trimmed down squad for a training camp in Darwin.

Cummins has not been considered for the 16-man camp due to injury, one of five injured players, but Sevens coach Andy Friend said anyone not travelling would be up against it to crack the squad.

The former Wallabies winger has been battling an ongoing knee problem that has limited his output.

Greg Jeloudev (foot), Henry Speight (knee), Pama Fou (knee) and Tom Lucas (knee) are the other unavailable players.

Lewis Holland will return in Darwin. Photo: Getty ImagesStar playmaker Lewis Holland will return from injury in the camp, with Tom Cusack and Nick Malouf also continuing their comebacks in the Top End.

Friend said he had told players it would be very difficult to push for Olympic selection without going to Darwin, but had confidence that those left behind would still be training hard in case of injuries.

"I've made it clear to the group that it'll be tough to make the squad for Rio if they haven’t been selected for Darwin,” he said.

"However, I have had a commitment from the non-travelling players that they will continue to work hard back in Sydney and maintain the high standards that this program has set.

“As we have found to our detriment this past week, injuries can happen at any time so we need the entire group to be ready to step into the breach at short notice.”

Friend said trial games against the development squad last week had been instructive.

“I was happy with the hit-out the boys had last week against the Australian Development squad. We got exactly what we needed to out of the six games and we have a clear idea on the areas we need to sharpen up on,” he said.

"I was delighted to see Tom [Cusack] and Nick [Malouf] come through the games unscathed and they'll add plenty to our forward options."

Stephan Van Der walt has been a World Series regular. Photo: Getty ImagesStephan Van Der Walt and Frank Winterstein are two regular World Series players who have missed out, with a plenitude of forwards for Friend to chose from.

The squad leaves on Friday for the training camp, with Australia’s final 12-man squad to be announced on July 14 in Sydney.

Training squad for Darwin

Cameron Clark (Sydney NSW), Tom Cusack (Canberra ACT), Allan Fa'alava'au (Melbourne VIC), Sam Figg (Sydney NSW), Con Foley (Brisbane QLD), Lewis Holland (Queanbeyan NSW), Henry Hutchison (Sydney NSW), Ed Jenkins (Sydney NSW), Boyd Killingworth (Sydney NSW), Tom Kingston (Sydney NSW), Nick Malouf (Brisbane QLD), Pat McCutcheon (Narromine NSW), Sam Myers (Forbes NSW), Jesse Parahi (Avoca NSW), John Porch (Orange NSW), James Stannard (Brisbane QLD).