Queensland Reds full back Mark McLinden's Sevens career has stalled before it started after he sustained a hamstring injury during the Super 14 clash against the Hurricanes in Brisbane.
McLinden was due to fly out to Europe with teammate Ben Lucas to play in the last two tournaments of the IRB Sevens World Series, in London and Edinburgh on the last two weekends in May, but in a cruel twist Lucas has also been ruled out of any Sevens action after damaging his knee during the same Super 14 match.
Coach Michael O'Connor and the Australian Sevens selectors have called up Brumbies back Francis Fainifo and Randwick Rugby Club's Timothy Walsh, who has previous Sevens experience.
Many of O'Connor's regular Sevens players had already been declared unavailable for the UK tournaments because of injury or other representative duties.
Captain Damon Murphy is one of the casualties, out with a foot injury, while Brian Sefanaia is nursing a hamstring and Jonathan Jenkins a leg injury.
The Sevens team has also lost Richard Kingi, Dane Haylett-Petty and Afuspia Taumoepeau to Australia's Under 20s as they bid to win the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship in Japan.
O'Connor scouting new talent
“By having the Under 20s out it will give us the opportunity to have a look at some younger players that I have been keen to look at for next year,” said O’Connor.
“I have brought into the squad some young guys from Sydney University - Clinton Sills as well as Pat McCutcheon, who is playing very well with his club.”
Brumbies scrumhalf James Stannard will also make his Australian Sevens debut in London. The 25-year-old, who played for the Western Force during 2008, has 11 Super 14 caps (10 for the Force and one for the Brumbies).
Australia performed well in the last round of the Series on home soil in Adelaide. They went undefeated in their pool, beating England, Samoa and Portugal, before losing to Argentina 12-5 in the Cup quarters and then finishing runners-up to England in the Plate.
“We have some credibility now,” O’Connor said. “We are a side that can mix it with the top teams not just an inexperienced group. All the indications are that we are tracking on the right plane and we hope to improve again in London and Edinburgh and finish on a good note.”
In the London Sevens at Twickenham Australia play the World Series leaders and two-time International Rugby Sevens Adelaide champions South Africa as well as World Cup winners Wales and Germany.
The squad departed for London on Sunday 17 May.
Australia squad for London and Edinburgh: Ben Coridas, William Brock, Benjamin McCalman, Henry Vanderglas, James Stannard, William Bishop, Shaun Foley, Dominic Shipperley, Clinton Sills, Francis Fainifo, Timothy Walsh, Pat McCutcheon
RWC 2019 Tickets
RWC 2019 Official Ticketing site NOW LIVE
Fans can now register interest to apply for Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets