O'Donnell shapes as Sydney starter despite injury concern

Mens - Sydney
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Aussie men’s Sevens captain Lewis Holland is confident Ben O’Donnell will be named to play in this weekend’s Sydney 7s despite an ongoing knee concern.

O’Donnell was forced out of the Hamilton Sevens finals day after aggravating a knee injury from last year’s Cape Town leg.

Coach Tim Walsh said after the New Zealand tournament that O’Donnell would be given every chance to recover and Holland was positive when asked about his teammate on Wednesday.

“He's going alright, he was just a bit of a sook over there,” he said.

“He'll be fine for this weekend and he's a big part of our team so he's resting up and recovering and he'll be ready to go.”

Jesse Parahi. Photo: Getty ImagesInjured forward Jesse Parahi is also a chance of returning to the men’s side when it is named on Thursday morning.

Veteran Parahi missed the Hamilton Sevens with a hip flexor injury and Holland said he would be a handy addition to the team in Sydney.

“Jesse's a powerhouse, if we can get him out on the field this weekend no doubt he'll do some damage,” he said.

“He's not easy to tackle but for a big unit he's a bit of a twinkle toe as well, so he offers a great thing to the team.”

The Aussies have impressed in Sydney in recent years, winning the 2018 tournament and finishing second in 2016 but have had a disappointing start to their 2018-19 World Series to sit sixth in the overall standings.

The captains for the Sydney 7s gathered at Spotless Stadium on Wednesday. Photo: Getty ImagesOnly the top four at the end of the series will qualify for the 2020 Olympics and Holland said the Australian men weren’t satisfied with where they currently sat.

“It is frustrating,” he said.

“You want to try and stay consistent and we train hard and we train well and it's just about, that's when it should all come together but at the moment it's not.

“We just need to make sure as a playing group that we're ready to go, whether it's in the warm up or whatever we need to do but there's no excuses there we just need to, once we cross that white line something needs to click and we need to get the job done.”

The Sydney 7s kicks off on Friday February 1, running until Sunday February 3 at Spotless Stadium. Buy tickets here.