Australia name 7s squad for opening events
November 22, 2007

The Australian Rugby Union have named its 12-man squad for the opening rounds of the IRB Sevens World Series, in Dubai and George later this month.

Australian coach Bill Millard has named Sevens-veteran Shawn Mackay as captain for the Dubai tournament, which begins on Friday, 30 November.

Four players - Tim Cornforth, Ant Sauer, James Lew and Mackay - were all involved in Australia's dramatic Plate Final win at the inaugural Adelaide Sevens and will provide an experienced nucleus for the squad.

Investec Super 14 representatives Tim Wright (Brumbies), Alfi Mafi (NSW) and Ross Duncan (NSW) will all don the gold jersey for the first time in Dubai, alongside Sevens debutants Pat McCutcheon, Junior Sovala and Scott Higginbotham.

Kacey Mitchell and Damon Murphy, both of whom have represented Australia at the Sevens level, round out the squad.

With the majority of the players benefiting from a tough inaugural Mazda Australian Rugby Championship from August to October, coach Bill Millard said the opening rounds of the World Series will provide the squad an opportunity to press their claims for further selection.

"Most of the successful teams on the Sevens circuit have a core squad of players that play in every tournament and that is what we want to achieve this season," Millard said.

"This squad has an opportunity to cement their position in the Australian Sevens program for the rest of the year, including our home event in Adelaide in April, with strong performances in the first two tournaments."

Millard said he was pleased Qantas Wallabies Physical Performance Manager Jason Weber will be involved in preparing the squad for the Dubai and George legs.

"Being able to tap into the same fitness training programs the Wallabies use and integrate this into our program is a real benefit for the squad," he said.

"We're all excited to have someone of Jason's international experience and knowledge involved and I believe we will reap the benefits of his expertise later in the season and ultimately at the World Cup Sevens tournament."

The Australian Sevens squad is currently training in Manly and departs for Dubai on Sunday, 25 November.

2007/08 IRB Sevens World Series - Australian Team for Dubai and George tournaments

Tim Cornforth
Ross Duncan
Scott Higginbotham
James Lew
Shawn Mackay
Alfi Mafi
Pat McCutcheon
Kacey Mitchell
Damon Murphy
Junior Sovala
Ant Sauer
Tim Wright

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