Jenkins returns for Wellington Sevens
February 4, 2014
Cameron Clark (r) was a standout performer in Las Vegas © Getty Images
Australia have made one change to their Sevens squad for this weekend's IRB Sevens World Series round in Wellington, with long-standing captain Ed Jenkins re-joining the squad after an injury lay-off.
Jenkins will replace Jordan Tuapou in an experienced line-up, which last time out suffered a narrow 26-24 loss to England in the Las Vegas Plate Final. However, the Australian skipper is confident the team will be able to get back in the winner's circle in New Zealand after a mixed tournament in the USA.
"I was disappointed I couldn't play in Las Vegas, but I was extremely impressed with the boys' attitude, particularly in the Fiji game when we came back from the dead," Jenkins said. "The team seems to be shaping up nicely for the second half of the season. We took a lot out of the tournament with strong performances against the Fijians, Scotland and Argentina. Cam [Cameron Clark] being named in the tournament's 'Dream Team' was a deserved accolade. He was fantastic.
"I believe we have a realistic chance in Wellington to make a real statement and get into that top four. The boys are relishing the opportunity to play in front of a packed out New Zealand crowd that absolutely love their Rugby Sevens," he said.
Coach Michael O'Connor praised the efforts of his young side and their ability to bounce back after a few tough losses.
"The team has come together well this year and it continues to evolve," he said. "It gave me great satisfaction to see the boys emerge from the 'pool of death' in Las Vegas after being drawn with the number one and three ranked teams in the world, New Zealand and Fiji. We have a side that has genuine potential at the moment and our combinations are really starting to bear fruit. Having captain Ed Jenkins back to bolster the team leading into Wellington is a bonus as well."
Australia will face Samoa, Kenya and Tonga on the first day. Defending champions England face Portugal, South Africa and Wales in Pool A. Hosts New Zealand have been drawn with Fiji, France and Spain in Pool B. On the other side of the schedule, Scotland have been drawn with Argentina, Canada and the USA in Pool C.
With four rounds of the series complete, South Africa (78) leads the competition ladder, with New Zealand a point behind in second. Fiji (56) sit third with England (53) fourth. Australia (46) are just a point outside the top five, one point behind Samoa (47).
Meanwhile, the draw for Rugby Sevens at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has been released. Australia are up against England, Sri Lanka and Uganda in Pool D, with tournament dates and the match schedule will be announced next month.
The next HSBC Sevens World Series tournament for the Sevens team will take place in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday 22 - Saturday 23 of March.
Squad: Ed Jenkins (captain), Paul Asquith, Cameron Clark, Allan Fa'alava'au, Con Foley, Tom Luca, Greg Jeloudev, Nick Malouf, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi, Peter Schuster, Shannon Walker.
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