Friend changes two for Sydney showdown
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Australian Men's Sevens coach Andy Friend has made two changes to his side ahead of the Sydney Sevens this weekend at Allianz Stadium kicking off on Australia Day.
Veteran Jesse Parahi returns to the team while speedster Charlie Taylor has earned his first start of the 2017/18 season after impressing in Darwin last weekend at the Hottest Sevens. Matthew Hood and Jeral Skelton drop out of the squad that won the Challenge Trophy in Cape Town.
The Aussie Sevens are in Pool D alongside Sevens World Series heavyweights USA, Canada and Scotland with Friend desperate to earn Cup quarterFinal qualification to ensure a strong seeding ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games draw next week.
"We marked Sydney Sevens down at the start of the season as one of our target tournaments, so we have an internal expectation to do well here," said Friend.
"It's crucial that we do perform to the best of our ability, not only because it's on home soil in front of family and friends, but also because of its importance to the Commonwealth Games draw.
"We weren't happy with our pool performance in Cape Town and so now we have to aim up against USA, Canada and Scotland. All three teams will be tough opponents so we will need to be at our best to beat them respectively.
"Jesse (Parahi), Charlie (Taylor) and Tom (Lucas) all played well in Darwin, and have earned their inclusion into the squad. As a squad, it's now about trusting the hard work we’ve put in over the past six months, and enjoying the vibe and excitement about playing on our home turf," Friend said.
Australia Sevens: Charlie Taylor, Simon Kennewell, Sam Myers, Lewis Holland (captain), James Stannard, John Porch, Tim Anstee, Jesse Parahi, Boyd Killingworth, Ben O'Donnell, Maurice Longbottom, Lachie Anderson.
13th man: Tom Lucas