Young rugby star to help win Commonwealth medal
AUSTRALIA's sevens captain Ed Jenkins believes young flier Cameron Clark could be the X-factor that helps his team win a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 21-year-old, who represented the Australian Schoolboys at the XV man game in 2011, was awarded a spot on the Las Vegas Dream Team during the fourth stop of the 2013-14 World Sevens Series. A Super Rugby contract could soon beckon for the Northern Suburbs representative out of the Sydney club competition.
"Cam had a few injuries a few years ago after coming out of the schoolboys' system. But he's been in our setup for two years now, and I believe he's one of the best players on the world sevens circuit," Jenkins told APN.
"I just hope we (Australia) can hang on to him, because he's the type of player the Wallabies or any Super Rugby team will be interested in.
"He's got excellent speed off the mark, and his kicking accuracy is very good. He's also won us some games by kicking some high-pressure goals after the full-time siren."
Jenkins believes his team is capable of making another Commonwealth Games final, like it did four years ago in Delhi.
The Aussies lost to New Zealand 24-17 in that game, maintaining the unbeaten record of the Kiwis in sevens rugby since team sports were introduced to the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in 1998.
"We had nine players from that team (the 2010 final) that went on to get picked up by Super Rugby teams," Jenkins said.
"We were a very tight-knit team, and so is this one. When the next World Series comes around we'll have young guys who will have been on this team for two or three years. That's the peak age."
Jenkins said Liam Gill and Sean McMahon, who play for the Reds and Rebels respectively at Super Rugby level, were also ready for big tournaments and had been training well.
A lot of focus will be on new coach and Welshman Geraint John, who took over from dual Australian international Michael O'Connor after the Aussies finished a disappointing fifth overall in last season's World Sevens circuit.
Jenkins said the signs under John, who led Canada to its first World Sevens final in Glasgow in May, had been good.
"He's put a real emphasis on quality over quantity on the training paddock, with shorter and sharper sessions," Jenkins said.