Parahi wants to do sidelined skippers proud

Commonwealth Games - Men
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

New interim Aussie Sevens captain Jesse Parahi wants his team to succeed for sidelined captains Lewis Holland and James Stannard.

Parahi, who is a part of the leadership group, will lead the team in the Commonwealth Games, with usual Lewis Holland ruled out with a hamstring injury a fortnight ago and his replacement Stannard suffering a fractured skull as a result of a one-punch attack.

"It was a huge loss for us to lose Chucky, and Lewi earlier on in the piece," he said on Wednesday.

"It's obviously a huge honour for me to get up there and captain the boys to a Commonwealth Games but obviously a big loss for our side.

"We'll be going up there to do those boys proud.:

Though Stannard has hopes of making a full recovery, his Commonwealth Games chances were almost instantly dashed after the attack, with coach Andy Friend handing the reins to Parahi for the tournament.

Parahi has been part of the program continuously since 2010, bar an eight-month stint with the NRL's West Tigers in 2015-16, and has represented Australia at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games in the past.

Friend said though Parahi had taken the reins in unfortunate circumstances, he was the right man to lead the team.

"We've got four leaders in our senior group - Lewis, Chucky, Jesse and Tommy Lucas ," he said.

"Jesse got the nod - it's a tough one there, but he's really grown in that leadership. he's probably been a reluctant leader prior to this year, but (we've) given him the title of the leader, he's really stepped up, shown a lot of maturity and I think it's taken his game to a new level."

Parahi, 28, said it was an unusual way to be given the reins but said this team would respond as well as any in these strange circumstances.

"There's been a whole lot of adversity thrown at us the last three weeks with Chuck and Lew and the news of Friendy (leaving the program)," he said.

"If anything, it's bound this group together. We've got a stronger bond because of it and we're going to go out there and do all those blokes proud."

The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games kick off on Thursday April 5, with the Sevens tournament running from Friday April 13-Sunday April 15.