Australia make four changes in Vegas
January 22, 2014
Michael O'Connor is unconcerned that he has had to draw on fresh players for round four of the IRB Sevens Word Series in Las Vegas, saying he needs an experienced pool of players in order to prepare properly for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
O'Connor has made four changes to the squad that competed in South Africa. Ed Jenkins is unavailable due to injury, the Australia Sevens captain replaced by Jordan Tuapou, while Sean McMahon, Luke Morahan and James Stannard have been replaced by Allan Fa'alava'au, Cameron Clark and Peter Schuster. McMahon and Morahan stepped down to return to Super Rugby duties with Melbourne Rebels and Western Force respectively.
"Rugby Sevens requires athletes with specific skill sets and physical attributes [and] it's great to be able to consistently select players who have these capabilities," O'Connor said.
"Although we select squads for tournaments on its merits, we have to keep competitions outside of the series in mind. This includes the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Developing the depth and talent pool to allow me to select specialist Sevens players for each tournament builds a platform to win tournaments and gold medals."
Australia play New Zealand and Fiji in pool matches on the first day of the tournament before playing Scotland, for the fourth time in as many tournaments, and the quarter-finals on day two. The finals are staged on day three of the tournament.
New Zealand lead the series standings with 58 points after three rounds, with South Africa second on 56 points followed by Fiji (48) and England (40). Australia round out the top five with 34 points. New Zealand won the opening tournament, beating Australia in the final on the Gold Coast, with Fiji and South Africa winning in Dubai and Port Elizabeth respectively.
Squad: Paul Asquith, Cameron Clark, Allan Fa'alava'au, Con Foley, Tom Luca, Greg Jeloudev, Nick Malouf, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi, Peter Schuster, Jordan Tuapou, Shannon Walker.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.