Australian Sevens rising star Simon Kennewell has been cruelly ruled out of the Sydney 7s, after rupturing his ACL.
Kennewell, who has been touted as a future star of the Sevens circuit and is already a major threat in the side, suffered the injury in training on Tuesday, just three days out from the 2018 tournament.
It’s not only Sydney Kennewell will miss, with the 21-year-old sidelined for the rest of the 2017-18 season, including the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup.
Coach Andy Friend said it was disappointing news for Kennewell and the entire squad.
“It's incredibly disappointing for Simon,” he said.
“He's been one of our most improved players in the last year and is now a player that the oppositi.on fear and respect.
"It's a cruel blow for him personally but also us as a team with so much at stake for us over the next six months.
“Simon is a fighter though, and with the full support of the squad, we know he’ll come back bigger and better.”
Kennewell will be replaced in the squad by Warringah’s Tom Connor, who will make his World Series debut in Sydney this weekend.
Friend said Connor had shown enough to be given the opportunity on the big stage
“This injury now provides an opportunity for Tom Connor. Tom has been knocking on the door for over five years now searching for an opportunity to represent his country on the World Series. He’s played for Australia previously at Oceania, but now will get his chance to make his World Series debut here in Sydney.
"He's well known campaigner who has proven himself in Sevens with Tribe7s as well as Club Rugby with Warringah. I have no doubt that he will relish the opportunity and will not let us down," Friend said.
Australia faces USA, Canada and Scotland in its Sydney pool, opening its tournament on Friday night against the Americans.
The Sydney 7s kicks off on Friday January 26, running until Sunday January 28. Buy tickets here.
Australian Men’s Sevens Sydney 7s squad
1. Charlie Taylor, 7 caps, Manly
2. Tom Connor*, Warringah
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, Warringah
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
*denotes HSBC World Series debut