Three more debutants have been named in the Australian Men’s team for this weekend’s Sydney 7s tournament – round four of the HSBC World Series.
In the ongoing effort to blood new talent – borne out of necessity as well as future planning – coach Andy Friend has selected Liam McNamara, Brandon Quinn and Lachlan Anderson as part of the squad bringing the number of new faces in this series so far to 10.
These selections mean that Friend’s squad will be one of the youngest Australian teams to feature in a World Series event, with an average age of 22 and just 94 caps between the 12 players - with eight of those having just three international caps or less.
Friend reiterated that because of the changes to the squad following the Olympic campaign and the additional impediment of injuries to some of the remaining senior players, he is having to blood new talent with a view to the future development of the team rather than for immediate success in the current World Series.
“It’s probably a bit earlier than expected but it’s a great opportunity for them (debutants),” he said.
“I’m looking for these guys to be the future so they’ve got to show me that they’ve got what it takes to be the future. (But) just because they’re getting a start doesn’t mean they’ve made it, it’s just an opportunity for them to show me what they’ve got.”
Unfortunately for both the team and the fans, former captain Ed Jenkins has not recovered from a shoulder injury in time to make the squad.
The good news however is that captain Sam Myers has been cleared to play having suffered a corked shoulder last week in Wellington.
While the side will definitely miss the experience of Jenkins and Parahi – who is still out with a facial injury – Myers is keen to lead the young squad out in front of the home crowd.
“After playing here last year and getting the crowd and basically the whole city and country around you, it's an unreal experience,” he said.
With the first day of the Men’s competition to be played in front of a sell-out crowd, Andy Friend believes the significance of this for the younger players goes much deeper than just playing for World Series points.
“The exciting thing for the players is to be able to ply their trade in front of family and friends,” he said.
“The boys have limited opportunities to do that, so this weekend is really to be able to show what we’ve got, and make their family (and) friends really proud of the efforts they’re putting in behind the scenes.”
The first game of the pool round is always an important one and the Aussies will have their work cut out for them when they come up against traditional rivals New Zealand.
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens squad, Sydney
1. Henry Hutchison
2. Brandon Quinn*
3. Sam Myers
4. Alex Gibbon
5. James Stannard
6. Tate McDermott
7. Liam McNamara*
8. Simon Kennewell
9. Tim Anstee
10. Michael Adams
11. Charlie Taylor
12. Lachie Anderson *
13th man – Dylan Pietsch
FIXTURE Day One – Saturday 4 February
Australia v New Zealand, Pool C, 11.42am (AEDT)
Australia v Scotland, Pool C, 3.59pm (AEDT)
Australia v Papua New Guinea, Pool C, 8.35pm (AEDT)
Fox Sports will broadcast the Men’s Sydney7s competition live on Fox Sports 1 from 9.00am (AEDT) on Saturday 4 February.