Australia Sevens coach Billy Millard has named two brothers in his 12-man squad for the next two legs of the IRB Sevens World Series in Wellington and San Diego with Mitchell Inman called up for the first time alongside his more experienced older brother Luke.
Mitchell was a member of the Australian squad that finished third in the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Belfast last year, while Luke will play in his 20th IRB Sevens World Series event after recently completing his medical degree.
Seven members of the squad are retained from the opening two tournaments in Dubai – where Australia won the Bowl – and George in captain Shawn Mackay, Tim Cornforth, Scott Higginbotham, James Lew, Kacey Mitchell, Peter Owens and Tim Wright.
Ed Jenkins and Danny Kroll will, like Luke Inman, be making their Australian Sevens debut in Wellington, while the exciting young wing Blair Connor returns to the scene of his debut in 2007.
Rising to the challenge
However Millard suffered a blow when Damon Murphy, Australia’s leading point scorer in the 2007/08 Series, was ruled out after suffering a head injury playing for Aussie Spirit at the Hottest 7s invitational tournament in Darwin earlier this month.
“With a couple of players from the past tournaments unavailable this squad will need to step up to be counted over the next two legs,” admitted Millard. “These tournaments are the last opportunity for players to show their wares before the Adelaide Sevens in April, where we expect a strong showing in front of our home fans.”
Australia have been drawn in Pool C at the New Zealand International Sevens in Wellington with South Africa, Kenya and France. A week later they face an equally tough challenge in Pool B with defending USA Sevens champions Fiji, 2007 runners up Samoa and the West Indies.
“Despite being in a very difficult group our target will be a quarter-final appearance and we’re looking to improve our range of skills, particularly ball retention,” Millard added.
Blair Connor, Tim Cornforth, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Inman, Mitchell Inman, Ed Jenkins, Danny Kroll, James Lew, Shawn Mackay (Captain), Kacey Mitchell, Peter Owens, Tim Wright.