How the Australian Men’s Sevens team can qualify for Olympics this weekend
Olympic qualification is practically within reach for the Australian Men’s Sevens team, but they’ll have to do one of the breakout stars from this year’s World Series campaign.
Ahead of this weekend’s final World Series leg in London, head coach John Manenti has confirmed the one change to the squad.
Rising star Darby Lancaster has been ruled out of the event at Twickenham due to a concussion, and has been replaced by Commonwealth Games sprinter Trae Williams.
Williams, who was famously labelled ‘Quadzilla’ during his athletics career, made the sensational switch to sevens ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
While Williams failed to make the Olympics team, the 26-year-old has impressed in the coveted gold jersey on the World Series.
Making his World Series debut a few years ago against Scotland, Williams made a try-saving stop on Alex Coombes mere seconds after coming off the bench.
Currently fifth on the World Series standings, Australia can automatically qualify for the Games by placing fifth of higher in London.
“London 7s is a great tournament that has nice memories for us,” coach John Manenti said in a statement.
“We need to focus on playing how we’ve prepared, stick to our processes and not get distracted by outcomes.
“We’ve drawn a really tough pool – with the new format of 12 teams, every game will be heavily contested.
“We have made one change to the squad, as Darby Lancaster has had to sit out due to last week’s concussion, and we have brought Trae Williams into the squad.”
Last weekend in Toulouse, Australia started the tournament with an emphatic 49-5 win over minnows Japan – setting the tone for their dominance in pool play.
Victories over Ireland and Samoa followed, the men in gold topped Pool D with three big wins from as many starts.
But, things took a turn in the knockout rounds.
Australia were beaten by Canada 10-12 in the quarter-finals, but managed to secure fifth-place after wins over South Africa and Ireland.
With one more tournament to play this season, captain Nick Malouf said the team is focused on their opponents in pool play – Spain, Samoa and France.
“We’re excited for the last tournament of the year this weekend and the challenge that lies ahead,” Malouf said.
“Although this will ultimately determine the automatic qualification spots for the Olympics, we’ve been trying to focus more on our performances against the teams in our pool, and let the results play out.
“After some great performances in Toulouse, we’re looking forward to playing in front of a packed crowd in Twickenham.”
The London 7s gets underway at 6.39pm AEST on Saturday, with Australia playing Spain in the opening match of the event.
Australia Men’s Sevens squad
Nick Malouf (c)
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Superb player and always a joy to watch.Go to comments
Sadly for Dweba his performance on the field was poor.Go to comments