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Coronavirus hurting Olympic selection chances

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Australian sevens coach admits coronavirus is hurting Olympic hopefuls' selection chances

The door is slowly closing for Tokyo Olympic hopefuls with Australia’s men’s sevens coach Tim Walsh saying the postponement of matches due to the coronavirus means chances are running out.

Australia won the silver medal behind New Zealand in the final of the Vancouver sevens on Sunday but the upcoming Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the world series are on ice.

The next rounds are now scheduled for late May in London and Paris, which will be the last before Tokyo.

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The Australians will also play matches against Fiji in the Olympic-style format as part of their Games preparations.

Walsh was looking to bring ex-Wallabies and former sevens players Sean McMahon, currently playing in Japan, and Luke Morahan into the selection mix.

“There’s all different stuff going on with the coronavirus in Japan so I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Sean,” Walsh said.

“The closer we get to the Olympics and the end of the season, the harder it is for anyone to … get opportunities to push for selection.”

Walsh didn’t rule the veteran duo out if they didn’t play in London and Paris, saying there was a nine-week window before selection was finalised.

“But it would make it a lot tougher for them to push and overtake anyone who is in the squad now,” he said.

Before switching from Melbourne to the Waratahs, Test winger Jack Maddocks had an agreement to be released to play the Asian leg but Walsh wasn’t sure if that would be extended to Europe.

“Jack had a good two-month stint with us early but he was planed to play Hong Kong and Singapore, so that makes it a lot harder for him,” he said.

“We just have to wait and see if he becomes available for Paris and London but it’s an agreement we’ve got to have with the Waratahs.”

He said former Commonwealth Games sprinter Trae Williams, who made the switch last year, was still in the mix after scoring three tries in LA.

After making consecutive semi-finals for the first time since 2018, Walsh appeared comfortable with the talent already at hand.

He made special mention of Lachie Miller, who was a stand-out over the North American legs.

– AAP

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Australian sevens coach admits coronavirus is hurting Olympic hopefuls' selection chances
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