Three changes as Australia 7s aim to go back-to-back
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Australian Men’s Sevens coach Andy Friend has made three changes to his side ahead of the Hamilton Sevens this weekend in New Zealand
Veteran James Stannard will captain the side in the absence of Lewis Holland, who will sit out the inaugural Hamilton leg after picking up a cork in Australia's drought-breaking win in Sydney.
Forward Boyd Killingworth will also miss this weekend after suffering a hamstring injury midway through the Sydney tournament while Jesse Parahi is the other omission. The former Wests Tigers recruit has been rested after consecutive events in Darwin and Sydney.
Sam Croke is in line to make his World Series debut after impressing during invitational tournaments in Darwin, the Central Coast and Fiji while fellow Randwick clubman Dylan Pietsch will make his first appearance of the 2017/18 season.
Australia, now ranked third in the world rankings, are in Pool A alongside Wales, Spain and Sevens World Series heavyweights Fiji.
Australian Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend said: "I was exceptionally proud of the performance in Sydney. We had marked it as a key tournament and all the boys aimed up and delivered on the big stage.
"Now it's about backing that up, not just this week but on a consistent basis.
"It's disappointing for Lewy, Boyd and Jesse to miss the Hamilton leg but it's also a great opportunity for some of our new inclusions to stake their claim.
"Tom (Lucas) is one of our leaders and has been in the program for five years now. I have no doubt that he'll rise to the occasion and take on more playmaking responsibility in the absence of Lewis.
"Sam (Croke) has been working really hard for his opportunity and I know he will seize this opportunity. We saw a bit of Dylan (Pietsch) last year - he's another one of our young players with enormous potential. He has already shown that he can mix it on the World Series so I'm excited to see him get out there again," Friend said.
Australia Sevens: Charlie Taylor, Tom Connor, Sam Myers, Tom Lucas, James Stannard (captain), John Porch, Tim Anstee, Sam Croke, Dylan Pietsch, Ben O’Donnell, Maurice Longbottom, Lachie Anderson, Matt Hood,