Sevens coach continues to bring through youngsters
RUGBY SEVENS: Fresh blood will continue to pour into the Australian men's sevens team.
Coach Andy Friend has named three more rookies in his side to contest the World Series event in Sydney, starting today.
Included is 2016 Queensland Premier Rugby Colt of the Year Liam McNamara, as well as Brandon Quinn and Lachlan Anderson, bringing the tally to 10 debutants so far this season.
Friend's squad will be one of the most youthful Australian teams to ever feature in a World Series event, with an average age of 22 and just 94 caps between the 12 players.
McNamara will be joined in the side by fellow Queenslanders James Stannard and Tate McDermott, who debuted in Wellington.
"We've had 10 guys who've been thrust into the World Series because of the changes we had after Rio and the injuries we've had to some of our more experienced players, so it's probably a bit earlier than expected but it's a great opportunity for them,” Friend said.
"I'm looking for these guys to be the future so they've got to show me that they've got what it takes to be the future.
"Just because they're getting a start doesn't mean they've made it, it's just an opportunity for them to show me what they've got.”
Former captain Ed Jenkins failed to recover in time from an injured shoulder but tournament skipper Sam Myers has been cleared to play, after he suffered a shoulder complaint in Wellington last weekend.
Australia takes on Scotland, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand today at Allianz Stadium.
"The exciting thing for the players is to be able to ply their trade in front of family and friends,” Friend said.
"The boys have limited opportunities to do that, so this weekend is really to be able to show what we've got, and make their family friends really proud of the efforts they're putting in behind the scenes.”
Australia's women's team began their Sydney Sevens campaign with a scratchy victory over Brazil yesterday.
Overcoming the nerves of a first game on home soil, the Olympic and defending world champions led by five points at half-time but pushed away in the second half to win 24-7.
Mahalia Murphy scored two tries after half-time to seal the win.
Men today: Aus v NZ, 10.42am; Aus v Scot, 2.59pm; Aus v PNG, 7.35pm (times AEST)