Two changes for Aussie men in Sydney

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Jesse Parahi will return to the Aussie Sevens lineup in Sydney, named to make his comeback from injury on home soil.

Parahi and rookie Charlie Taylor are the two changes to the 12-man squad for the Sydney 7s, with Jeral Skelton and Matthew Hood dropping out from the Cape Town side, while Tom Lucas is 13th man.

The trio impressed coach Andy Friend in the recent Darwin 7s, where the Australian development team finished second.

Australia comes into the tournament after a disappointing Cape Town finish and Friend said they had earmarked Sydney as a critical World Series leg.

The Aussie men have made at least the cup semi-finals in the past two iterations of the Sydney 7s, finishing second in 2016 to New Zealand and fourth in 2017.

This year's competition will carry extra weight, with Sydney crucial in determining seeding for the Commonwealth Games in April.

“We marked Sydney 7s down at the start of the season as one of our target tournaments, so we have an internal expectation to do well here," Friend said.

"It’s crucial that we do perform to the best of our ability, not only because it’s on home soil in front of family and friends, but also because of its importance to the Commonwealth Games draw.

“We weren't happy with our pool performance in Cape Town and so now we have to aim up against USA, Canada and Scotland. All three teams will be tough opponents so we will need to be at our best to beat them respectively.

“Jesse (Parahi), Charlie (Taylor) and Tom (Lucas) all played well in Darwin, and have earned their inclusion into the squad. As a squad, it's now about trusting the hard work we’ve put in over the past six months, and enjoying the vibe and excitement about playing on our home turf."

Taylor sat out training on Tuesday afternoon, with the side managing the second-year player, but Lucas completed the session.

The 2018 Sydney 7s kicks off on Friday January 26, running until Sunday January 28. Buy tickets here.

SQUAD

IN: Charlie Taylor, Jesse Parahi, Tom Lucas

OUT: Matthew Hood, Jeral Skelton

1. Charlie Taylor, 7 caps, Warringah

2. Simon Kennewell, 11 caps, Randwick

3. Sam Myers, 30 caps, Norths (Sydney)

4. Lewis Holland (c), 33 caps, Queanbeyan Whites

5. James Stannard, 43 caps, Souths (Brisbane)

6. John Porch, 11 caps, Norths (Sydney)

7. Tim Anstee, 12 caps, Eastwood

8. Jesse Parahi, 36 caps, Norths (Sydney)

9. Boyd Killingworth, 15 caps, Manly

10. Ben O’Donnell, 2 caps, Randwick

11. Maurice Longbottom, 2 caps, Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team

12. Lachie Anderson, 9 caps, Eastwood

13th man. Tom Lucas, 19 caps, Sunnybank

FIXTURES

Australia Men's Sydney 7s pool fixtures

Friday 26 January

Australia vs USA, 8:12pm AEDT

Saturday January 27

Australia v Canada, 5:15pm AEDT

Australia v Scotland, 8:04pm AEDT