O'Donnell over the moon ahead of debut

by Sam Phillips

It's exactly one year since Ben O'Donnell first tried his hand at Sevens and that's testament to the platform the National Sevens Championship can provide.

O'Donnell was preparing to lace up the boots for Australian Universities in Adelaide this time last year but fast forward 12 months and he has a ticket to the Dubai Sevens with his name on it.

The past 12 months have all built up to this World Series debut for O'Donnell, who first caught coach Andy Friend's eye in Adelaide, where he was named player of the tournament.

"I've been in the program for a year so I have finally got my body good and ready to go," he told RUGBY.com.au.

"I played my first tournament ever exactly this time last year, with the Nationals on, ever since then I've been with Friendy and I'm loving it.

"It's been something I didn't expect but as Friendy said when I joined the program, with Sevens, it all happens really fast.

"One week you are playing in Adelaide and the next you are on the plane to Dubai."

O'Donnell is one of two fresh faces in the squad that will head to Dubai but even as a relative rookie, he knows the preseason success will count for nothing if the side doesn't rise to the occasion next weekend.

"A few tournament wins do mean something but they aren't World Series tournaments," he said.

"It's another step up for everyone, for all of us, we just have to keep that momentum rolling and hopefully continue our streak."

It will be a special moment when O'Donnell notches his first World Series cap but his family will be watching from home.

Exactly why that may be was explained by the rookie, through some chuckles.

"My parents, they're not great flyers," he said with a laugh.

"I only told them last night that I got picked - I don't think they'll be able to make it.

"They'll be watching on and cheering me on."


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.