Friend opts for some new with the old

AUSTRALIAN men’s sevens head coach Andy Friend has mixed some of the old with a lot of the new in his first national team squad for the 2017-18 season.

Friend is taking a squad to play in the Oktoberfest 7s in Munich Germany later this month and it will feature four debutants.


Jeral Skelton, Ben O’Donnell, Maurice Longbottom and Matthew Hood have all been included in the 12-man squad that also includes seasoned veteran James Stannard and the experienced Tom Lucas.

Emerging players John Porch and Lachlan Anderson have also been included as things ramp up for the start of the 2017-18 World Sevens Series and also the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

“The Oktoberfest 7s is going to be an excellent marker for us as we continue our pre-season preparation for a massive year,” Friend said.

“We have a tough pool with three very contrasting styles of rugby to test ourselves against and we are very much looking forward to that.

“Jeral, Ben, Maurice and Matthew are excellent young players who have great potential and I’m looking forward to seeing them in international tournament conditions.”

The Aussies will play in Pool C alongside Fiji, Chile and Ireland. The final day will be broadcast Live on Fox Sports 506.

The World Sevens Series kicks off in Dubai on December 1 and will run for 10 tournaments. It will come to Sydney on January 26 for the sellout event in the Harbour City.

THE SQUAD
Jeral Skelton*
Simon Kennewell
Ben O’Donnell*
Maurice Longbottom*
James Stannard
John Porch
Tim Anstee
Matthew Hood*
Boyd Killinmgworth
Tom Lucas
Brandon Quinn
Lachlan Anderson