Geraint John has named an extended 13-man squad (one to be released) that will represent the Australian Men’s team at the Gold Coast Sevens this week – the first tournament of the 2014/15 HSBC Men’s Sevens Series. New signing Michael Wells is set to make his IRB debut with Pama Fou and Tom Cusack recalled to the World Series squad having both missed the entire 2013/14 season with shoulder and knee injuries respectively. Greg Jeloudev and Shannon Walker miss the tournament through injury.
Head Coach Geraint John, leading Australia in an IRB Sevens World Series event for the first time since joining from Rugby Canada in June, said, “I have selected a squad I believe can go all the way in the Gold Coast. I think we now have a nice balance in the squad, we have made one or two additions to the squad that I think will give us something extra up front. Having Pama and Tom back in the World Series squad feels like a couple of new signings too and I am looking forward to seeing them build on their performances at the Commonwealth Games. I know the team were disappointed to miss out on winning the Gold Coast tournament in 2013, so we are really hoping the public comes out in force to Cbus Super Stadium to back us as we aim to go one better than last year. It should be a fantastic spectacle. The 2014/15 Sevens World Series is going to be undoubtedly the toughest season to date. With qualification for Rio up for grabs, teams will be more professional and better prepared than ever before. We are a long way from qualifying for Rio having finished fifth last season and it is crucial we start well at the weekend.”
The host nation take on Portugal, Scotland and Fiji in Pool C, with the top two sides in each group progressing to Sunday’s Cup quarter-finals. The 16th edition of the IRB Sevens World Series takes on added significance with all points accumulated during the 2014/15 season counting towards qualification for the 2016 Olympics. Along with host nation Brazil, only the top four countries in the World Series will be guaranteed qualification for Rio.
Tickets for the festival of Rugby at the Gold Coast Sevens are currently on sale, from $35 (concessions) and $50 (adults) through Ticketek.com.au or 132849. Public transport is included in all ticket prices.