Home advantage for Australia Sevens

(IRB.COM) Friday 11 October 2013
 Home advantage for Australia Sevens
James Stannard is one of a number of experienced players in Australia's squad for the Gold Coast Sevens

This weekend at Skilled Park Australia have the advantage of being the first home team in the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.

While the other 15 teams have spent several hours or even days getting to the Gold Coast - South Africa only arriving in the early hours of this morning - Michael O'Connor's team enjoyed a short trip down the coast from their training centre in Brisbane. 

Now they will be looking to make that advantage pay, not having won a home round of the World Series since 2002.

As part of their preparations they took a development side to Fiji, which reached the final of the Oceania Sevens last weekend and fed two players into what otherwise Michael O'Connor is describing as his most-experienced squad for a Series opener.

"Tommy Lucas and Alex Gibbon have come in, they earned their spots in the side that went to Fiji last weekend," said Con Foley, one of the more experienced players.

"Tommy's older brother Matty played with us last year so he comes from a good background and Alex is a really good club player from Sydney.

"We have some good experience in the squad though and we're all looking forward to seeing them out there.

"It is coming into a good Aussie summer now too and that's something we are all used to it, so it should suit us."

As well as Foley, Jesse Parahi, James Stannard, Sean McMahon and captain Ed Jenkins possess bags of Sevens experience.

Ticking boxes

One other factor that may play into the hosts' quest for a Cup victory on home soil is local boy Shannon Walker.

Walker played for the Gold Coast Titans, who play their home games at Skilled Park, before making the transition to Sevens and he is hoping to give his side a boost this weekend. 

"I spent some time with the Titans and it turned something into professional footy, before I was fortunate a couple of years ago to get into the Sevens," said Walker.

"The boys always look forward to coming here, it's just a matter of us ticking all the boxes and performing on the weekend. Hopefully we can get a big crowd and will get everyone involved and turn up to win.

"My friends and family have spent about $3,000 on travel so I am just looking to score a few tries and play well for the boys."

You can follow the Australian's activities across the weekend at @irbsevens or @aussie7s

Raw Speed: Walker vs Norton vs Isles

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Gold Coast Sevens

Round 1
11-12 October 2014
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
City: Gold Coast
Capacity: 27,400

Pool A
Pool B
Pool C
Pool D
  • Fiji v Samoa
  • Fiji Gold Coast Sevens Cup winners
  • Jerry Tuwai - Gold Coast Sevens