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Aussies change six for Wellington

Mon, 28 Jan 2013 09:17
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Experience is very important at this level
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Australian coach Michael O'Connor has welcomed back a number of key players for the Wellington leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.

O'Connor has made six changes to his side which claimed the Bowl final in South Africa in December, injecting a significant amount of experience back into the lineup for Round Four of the global series.

"We're welcoming a lot of players back from injury, which is a big boost," O'Connor said.

"Experience is very important at this level. You can lose one or two players, but we basically lost our starting side to injury last year."

The squad is still without regular captain Ed Jenkins, who injured his shoulder during the Gold Coast Sevens, with O'Connor yet to decide on a replacement captain for Wellington.

Forward Jesse Parahi is back in the side for the first time after suffering an injury at the Coral Coast Sevens in November last year, while Allan Fa'alava'au, Lewis Holland and Shannon Walker all return to Australia's backline.

Ben Adams has also worked his way back into the fold after a lengthy layoff due to injury.

Adams made his debut for Australia at the Oceania Sevens Championships in 2011 and impressed earlier this month as part of the Aussie Thunderbolts development squad in the Uprising Fiji International Sevens.

While injury woes have plagued the Australian team in recent times, O'Connor said the positive was the scenario had improved Australia's playing stocks.

"The flip side is we've been able to bring a lot of guys in for experience," O'Connor said.

"We've been able to introduce a lot more players to international competition over the last few tournaments.

"Tom Cusack and Ben Adams will be making their World Series debuts in Wellington, which I'm excited about.

"Our guys are building confidence by having more game time with each other, but we still need to build cohesion and you can only do that by playing games."

The Australian team were named in Pool D for the Wellington Sevens, alongside Portugal, Fiji and Scotland.

The Wellington Sevens, held at Westpac Stadium, take place on February 1 and 2.

Australia: Cameron Clark, Ben Adams, Con Foley, Sean McMahon, Pama Fou, Jordan Tuapou, Allan Fa'alava'au, Tom Cusack, Will Miller, Shannon Walker, Jesse Parahi, Lewis Holland.

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