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Friend changes two for Sydney showdown

23 January 2018

Updated January 24

RUGBY SEVENS:Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens forward Simon Kennewell has been ruled out of the HSBC Sydney7s following a heartbreaking knee injury at training yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

Kennewell suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament at training and will undergo surgery ruling him out of the rest of the 2017/18 HSBC Sevens World Series. 

Tom Connor will now come into the side and wear the number two jersey in what will be his World Series debut.

The 25-year old has played for Australia previously at invitational tournaments in Fiji and the Central Coast (NSW), while he was also part of the victorious Warringah side that claimed the 2017 Shute Shield.

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend said: “It's incredibly disappointing for Simon. He's been one of our most improved players in the last year and is now a player that the opposition fear and respect.

"It's a cruel blow for him personally but also us as a team with so much at stake for us over the next six months. Simon is a fighter though, and with the full support of the squad, we know he’ll come back bigger and better.

“This injury now provides  an opportunity for Tom Connor. Tom has been knocking on the door for over five years now searching for an opportunity to represent his country on the World Series. He’s played for Australia previously at Oceania, but now will get his chance to make his World Series debut here in Sydney.

"He's well known campaigner who has proven himself in Sevens with Tribe7s as well as Club Rugby with Warringah. I have no doubt that he will relish the opportunity and will not let us down," Friend said.

Original story January 23rd

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens coach Andy Friend has made two changes to his side ahead of the Sydney7s this weekend at Allianz Stadium kicking off on Australia Day.

Veteran Jesse Parahi returns to the team while speedster Charlie Taylor has earned his first start of the 2017/18 season after impressing in Darwin last weekend at the Hottest7s. Matthew Hood and Jeral Skelton drop out of the squad that won the Challenge Trophy in Cape Town.

The Aussie 7s are in Pool D alongside HSBC Sevens World Series heavyweights USA, Canada and Scotland with Friend desperate to earn Cup Quarter-Final qualification to ensure a strong seeding ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games draw next week.

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We marked Sydney 7s down at the start of the season as one of our target tournaments, so we have an internal expectation to do well here. It’s crucial that we do perform to the best of our ability, not only because it’s on home soil in front of family and friends, but also because of its importance to the Commonwealth Games draw.

“We weren't happy with our pool performance in Cape Town and so now we have to aim up against USA, Canada and Scotland. All three teams will be tough opponents so we will need to be at our best to beat them respectively.

“Jesse (Parahi), Charlie (Taylor) and Tom (Lucas) all played well in Darwin, and have earned their inclusion into the squad. As a squad, it's now about trusting the hard work we’ve put in over the past six months, and enjoying the vibe and excitement about playing on our home turf," Friend said.

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Team:

1. Charlie Taylor, 7 caps, Manly
2. Tom Connor*, Warringah
3. Sam Myers, 30 caps, Norths (Sydney)
4. Lewis Holland (c), 33 caps, Queanbeyan Whites
5. James Stannard, 43 caps, Souths (Brisbane)
6. John Porch, 11 caps, Norths (Sydney)
7. Tim Anstee, 12 caps, Eastwood
8. Jesse Parahi, 36 caps, Norths (Sydney)
9. Boyd Killingworth, 15 caps, Manly
10. Ben O’Donnell, 2 caps, Randwick
11. Maurice Longbottom, 2 caps, Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team
12. Lachie Anderson, 9 caps, Eastwood

13th man. Tom Lucas, 19 caps, Sunnybank

Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Fixtures, Sydney:
Friday 26 January
Australia v USA, 8.12pm AEDT

Saturday 27 January
Australia v Canada, 5.15pm AEDT
Australia v Scotland, 8.04pm AEDT


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