Longbottom, O'Donnell to debut in Dubai

by Sam Phillips

Breakout Aussie Sevens star Maurice Longbottom will get his first taste of World Series action, named in the side that will head to Dubai for the opening leg.

Fellow rookie Ben O'Donnell has also been named for his first World Series cap, with the pair of rookies the only fresh faces in an otherwise experienced squad.

Lewi Holland will skipper the side in his first major tournament since the Rio Olympics, having returned from an achilles injury at the Silicon Valley Sevens and impressing in the performances that followed.

James Stannard has also overcome a rib injury suffered at the Oktoberfest Sevens to be named but Tom Lucas won't play, having picked up a shoulder knock in San Jose.James Stannard has overcome a rib injury to be named. Photo: Karen WatsonCoach Andy Friend said the improved depth among the squad had caused some welcome selection headaches.

"The competition amongst players within the squad has been immense, with no one wanting to miss a position for Dubai," Friend said.

"It’s created a healthy battle for positions and as coach, selection headaches.

"We’ve had some success in our pre-season but all of that will be irrelevant when we run out onto the field into Dubai as we kick start what is a massive year for Sevens Rugby.

"Maurice and Ben have more than proven their value to our program with how they have conducted themselves on and off the field and I am excited by what the future holds for them both."



Australian Men's Sevens team for Dubai Sevens

1. Lachlan Anderson, 7 caps, Eastwood

2. Tim Anstee, 10 caps, Eastwood

3. Lewis Holland, 31 caps, Aussie 7s

4. Ed Jenkins, 51 caps, Aussie 7s

5. Simon Kennewell, 9 caps, Randwick

6. Boyd Killingworth, 13 caps

7. Maurice Longbottom*, Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team

8. Sam Myers, 28 caps, Norths (Sydney)

9. Ben O’Donnell*, Randwick

10. John Porch, 9 caps, Norths (Sydney)

11. James Stannard, 41 caps, Aussie 7s

12. Brandon Quinn, 5 caps, Gordon


Australian Men's Sevens fixtures

Friday December 1

Australia v Wales, 4.44pm AEDT

Australia v Russia, 7.44pm AEDT

Saturday 2 December

Australia v Fiji, 2.06am AEDT

The Dubai Sevens kick off on November 31, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.