Australian sevens captain Ed Jenkins says Quade Cooper will find it "tough" to crack an Olympic spot playing just three tournaments and doubts about the Wallaby's involvement in Sydney next week may have made the task even tougher.
Cooper was revealed by the ARU last week as a star signing but unlike his mate Sonny Bill Williams - who will spend all year playing sevens for New Zealand - the No.10 will only be released by his French club, Toulon, to play in three World Sevens Series events.
That's already a very small number but Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has further dented Cooper's Rio aspirations by refusing to let him join the Australian squad in Wellington this week, where he was due to begin training for the February 6-7 event in Sydney.
Due to an injury to Matt Giteau and a cloud over Freddy Michalak, Cooper has to play Toulon's match against Stade Francais on Sunday and will only arrive home next Wednesday.
Negotiations are ongoing with Boudjellal for a reprieve but Cooper may only get two training sessions before Sydney.
It would be odd for Cooper to not get a run at the Sydney Sevens regardless but he'd likely struggle to get any meaningful minutes, particularly against top-ranked rivals.
Cooper is no walk-up start to go to Rio. His sublime skills would make him lethal in attack but sevens players must also be flawless in defence and exceptionally fit. Covering twice as much field as usual, they have the biggest engines in rugby and building one takes months of torturous training and game time.
SBW will play in eight World Sevens Series events but after Sydney, Cooper will next join the Aussie side in mid-May for the last two legs in Paris and London, and then only fulltime after the Top 14 finals in late June. The Rio Games begin in August.