Rugby: Australians give their sevens squad a pre Olympic Super boost

Luke Morahan of the Reds is in Australia's 12-man squad. Photo / Getty Images
Luke Morahan of the Reds is in Australia's 12-man squad. Photo / Getty Images

Australia will have three Super rugby players at the upcoming sevens World Cup, as the Australian Rugby Union looks to step up its preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Queensland Reds winger Luke Morahan and NSW Waratahs duo Bernard Foley and Matt Lucas are in Australia's 12-man squad for the June 28-30 tournament in Moscow.

Their selection is a slight shift in focus for the ARU, resulting from the addition of sevens to the programme for the Rio de Janeiro games.

But not everyone in Australian rugby agrees with taking sevens more seriously.

"What is better for the players' development, a game against the Lions or being in a camp to play sevens?" Waratahs coach Michael Cheika said of Foley's enforced omission from his side's match against the British and Irish Lions.

"It is only a training camp. That's just the way I feel about the game. That's it, that's life. What do you do?"

Australia coach Michael O'Connor was thrilled to include the professional trio, who have all already played sevens for Australia.

"All three of these guys have excelled in sevens and the fact that they're available ... we would be mad not to take them," O'Connor said.

"They're quality players and we would have liked them to have remained in the sevens programme to begin with.

"So to have them back in the squad for the World Cup is a great opportunity.

"We've got a lot of great leaders in this squad, and experience is critical at this level."

The squad has four members of Australia's silver medal-winning 2010 Commonwealth Games side, including in-form five-eighth Foley, and only two players with previous sevens World Cup experience.

Seasoned campaigner Ed Jenkins returns from a shoulder injury to lead the forward pack and the side in Russia, where his side faces France, Spain and Tunisia in pool play.

It will be former Gold Coast Titan Shannon Walker's first sevens World Cup.

- AAP

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 31 Aug 2014 09:08:29 Processing Time: 563ms