Jenkins back for Aussies
Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:12
The team seems to be shaping up nicely
The return of long-standing captain Ed Jenkins, after an injury lay-off, is the only change to the Australian squad ahead of the next leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.
The 2013-2014 World Series resumes in Wellington, New Zealand, on Friday and Saturday.
The Australians face Samoa, Kenya and Tonga on the first day.
With four rounds of the series complete, South Africa (78) lead the competition ladder, with New Zealand a point behind in second. Fiji (56) sit third, with England (53) fourth. Australia (46) are just a point outside the top five, a point behind Samoa (47).
Jenkins will replace Jordan Tuapou in an experienced line-up which last time out suffered a narrow 26-24 loss to England in the Las Vegas Plate Final.
However, the Australian skipper is confident the team will be able to get back in the winner's circle in New Zealand following a mixed tournament in the United States.
"I was disappointed I couldn't play in Las Vegas, but I was extremely impressed with the boy's attitude, particularly in the Fiji game when we came back from the dead," Jenkins said.
"The team seems to be shaping up nicely for the second half of the season.
"We took a lot out of the tournament with strong performances against the Fijians, Scotland and Argentina. Cam being named in the tournament's 'Dream Team' was a deserved accolade. He was fantastic.
"I believe we have a realistic chance in Wellington to make a real statement and get into that top four. The boys are relishing the opportunity to play in front of a packed out New Zealand crowd that absolutely love their Rugby Sevens," he added.
Coach Michael O'Connor praised the efforts of his young side and their ability to bounce back after a few tough losses.
"The team has come together well this year and it continues to evolve," O'Connor said.
"It gave me great satisfaction to see the boys emerge from the 'pool of death' in Las Vegas after being drawn with the number one and three ranked teams in the world, New Zealand and Fiji.
"We have a side that has genuine potential at the moment and our combinations are really starting to bear fruit. Having Captain Ed Jenkins back to bolster the team leading into Wellington is a bonus as well," he added.
The draw for the Wellington Sevens sees defending champions England face Portugal, South Africa and Wales in Pool A. Hosts New Zealand have been drawn with Fiji, France and Spain in Pool B.
On the other side of the schedule, Scotland have been drawn with Argentina, Canada and the USA in Pool C while Australia faces early competition in Pool D, with a mouth-watering clash against Tonga to kick off its Wellington campaign.
Australia: Ed Jenkins (captain), Con Foley, Jesse Parahi, Sam Myers, Allan Fa'alava'au, Peter Schuster, Greg Jeloudev, Cameron Clark, Shannon Walker, Nick Malouf, Tom Lucas, Paul Asquith.
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