McNamara eyeing London return

Mens - London
by Sam Phillips

Aussie Sevens young gun Liam McNamara is set to return to the field next month, with the London and Paris legs of the World Series awaiting.

A London return would mark just over eight months since McNamara ruptured his ACL during a preseason match against Japan in Mackay, making it quite the miraculous recovery.

The 20-year-old starred for the Australian U20s during their World Championship campaign and his inclusion would be one of three signifiant returns for the Australians in London, who will be bolstered by captain Lewis Holland and playmaker Tom Lucas, too.

"I'm very excited to see Liam play," coach Tim Walsh said.

"In the short time that I've had with him - the time and awareness that he has a rugby player is almost elegant to watch.McNamara was outstanding for the Australian U20s last year. Photo: Rugby AU Media"We're very excited to get him on the field."

Walsh will not rush McNamara's return but said he was on track for a return in London, with the Paris leg to follow a week later.

"He's heading that way but it's week by week," he said.

"Coming back from a pretty serious injury we just want to make sure he is 100 per cent fine.

"We want him to feel stable with it and ready to take off and explode on it."

Returns for Holland, Lucas and McNamara would replenish the side's playmaking stocks and both Maurice Longbottom and Ben O'Donnell have been cleared of serious injury, too, creating some selection headaches for Walsh.

With Jesse Parahi and James Stannard also targeting returns at the World Cup, Walsh will only be without Simon Kennewell when he locks in a squad for San Fransisco.Jesse Parahi is targeting a World Cup return after injuring his knee in Singapore. Photo: WalmsleyIt's a welcome headache, as an understrength side were unlucky to not claim the Singapore 7s title in his first tournament in charge.

"That's the great thing about the squad that we are building - there isn't just 12 or 13 players - there's 20 players that have experience, understanding and when they're called upon they'll be able to play," Walsh said.

"In five out of six games, it came down to the last play of the game.

"That's the reality of Sevens so being able to handle that pressure, wanting to be involved in the game.

"That's the attributes that we are looking for in these players.

"We want them to embrace those moments and you look at those moments on the whole - it was a pretty good performance (in Singapore).Australia fell to Fiji in Singapore after the final siren. Photo: Getty Images"By the stats, we went pretty well but it's not exactly where we want it to be.

"Then just with our execution and what we were trying to do against each opposition - it was done at a fair level.

"But the potential to move forward and consistently be on that podium is huge."

After claiming the Sydney 7s Cup, bronze in Hamilton and silver in Singapore, consistent podium finishes is now top priority.

"Through the work the squad has done over the last two years, they proved what they can do in Sydney," Walsh said.

"But it's about doing that consistently.

"It's a good foundation for me - as a head coach - but we need to do it all again continuously throughout the tournaments."