Australia will boast three Super Rugby players at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, as the Australian Rugby Union looks to step up preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Queensland Reds winger Luke Morahan and New South Wales Waratahs duo Bernard Foley and Matt Lucas have been named in Australia's 12-man squad for the tournament from June 28-30.
The trio's selection represents a shift in focus for the ARU, after the addition of Sevens to the Olympic program for Rio, but a number of powerbrokers disagree with the decision. "What is better for the players' development: a game against the Lions or to be in a camp to play Sevens," Waratahs coach Michael Cheika told News Ltd of Foley's enforced omission from his side's match against the British & Irish Lions. "It is only a training camp. That's just the way I feel about [Sevens]. That's it, that's life. What do you do?"
Australia coach Michael O'Connor was thrilled to include the professional trio, who have all played the abridged version of the game for Australia. "All three of these guys have excelled in Sevens and the fact that they're available, we would be mad not to take them," O'Connor said in a statement. "They're quality players and the reality is we would have liked them to have remained in the Sevens program to begin with. So to have them back in the squad for the World Cup is a great opportunity. We've got a lot of great leaders in this squad and experience is critical at this level."
The squad features four members of Australia's 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medal-winning side, including in-form five-eighth Foley, and only two players with previous World Cup Sevens experience.
Seasoned campaigner Ed Jenkins returns from a shoulder injury to lead the side in Russia, where his side faces France, Spain and Tunisia in pool play.
Australia Sevens squad: Cam Clark, Tom Cusack, Bernard Foley, Con Foley, Matt Lucas, Lewis Holland, Ed Jenkins (captain), Sean McMahon, Luke Morahan, Jesse Parahi, James Stannard, Shannon Walker.