World Rugby Sevens Series
Quade Cooper misses Australia selection for Sydney Sevens
ESPN Staff
February 4, 2016
© Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Wallabies star Quade Cooper has been overlooked for the Sydney Sevens, with Australia coach Andy Friend deciding not to risk the playmaker due to his late arrival.

Cooper only flew in on Wednesday morning and had just one training session alongside his new team-mates, leaving Friend little choice but to omit the event's premier drawcard.

Australia will now look to blood Cooper in the Las Vegas leg of the HSBC World Sevens series but will require a favour from the Queenslander's Toulon boss, the enigmatic Mourad Boudjellal. Cooper has set his sights on making the Australia squad for the Rio Olympics, but now may be left with just the Paris and London stops to prove his worth.

"Quade is an exceptional footballer and has shown real character to put his hand up and say I want to be part of this team and work hard for this opportunity," Friend said. "That's exactly what you want.

Cooper's Wallabies team-mate Henry Speight will feature in Sydney © Alyssa Schukar for ESPN

"There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a tremendous addition to the squad as we build towards Rio, but due to circumstances which were beyond Quade's control, and our control, he just couldn't get enough work in this week with the team.

"Quade is going to get his opportunities during the series and we are really excited to have him here in our group and with us throughout this preparation. He'll spend the weekend embedded with the squad as well, that contact (with the team) is a really important part of his learning process in a different version of the game."

Australia captain Ed Jenkins returns to lead the side after missing last week's stop in Wellington while Cameron Clark, Lewis Holland, Con Foley and Wallabies winger Henry Speight have also been recalled.

"We've had a great preparation this week and there has certainly been that extra bit of intensity in training ahead of what is a big occasion for the boys playing in front of a huge home crowd," Friend said.

"There are always tough calls to make regarding selection but we are really happy with the balance of the team and confident that they'll rise to the occasion and produce their best footy this weekend."

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