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Friend Confident Of Defending Title

    Qantas Australian men’s rugby sevens head coach Andy Friend is confident in his young side as defending champions they are geared up for a tough Oceania 7s on
09 Nov 2016 12:01
Friend Confident Of Defending Title
Australia men’s rugby 7s players do their weights at the National Fitness Centre in Suva yesterday. Photo: Justine Mannan

 

 

Qantas Australian men’s rugby sevens head coach Andy Friend is confident in his young side as defending champions they are geared up for a tough Oceania 7s on Friday and Saturday at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

Sitting in Pool B with Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, Friend says, they will not be underestimating any team

“It is really good to be here, we arrived on Monday and have been having some light sessions since being here,” Friend said.

“Looking at our pool, we definitely have a tough one, none of these teams are easy and our first game is against the Solomon Islands.

“In sevens, anything can happen so you just need to respect them all and not underestimate any team.”

With a fairly young side, Friend says, the help of captain John Porch will add some experience to the side.

Porch, 22, was part of the Australian Schoolboys and NSW team in 2012. He wore the green and gold jersey as an un-contracted player in New Zealand in September and represented Australia at the Olympic Games.

“John is the most experienced player on the team as he has been with the programme just under 12-months,” Friend said.

“He is a tremendous athlete, he only started with us last year but he is a quality footballer. We may not have a lot of experience but at the same time we got a lot of ability there.

“I am really confident in the team even though they are really young. We have new talent coming through which is really exciting.”

Winning will not be the only thing on the Aussies minds as Friend’s main focus in the Oceania 7s is to view the performance of the new boys in the team to build-up the men’s 7s team for the 2016/2017 season.

“Participating in this tournament for us is not all about winning, this is a chance for us to see some of the new boys we have in our squad and the opportunities for them,” he said.

“We still have a few contracts up for grabs so we got some boys trying to get contract, which is important.

“This is also a chance to build the team up, we lost 12 players out of our squad so we have a lot of new faces but it is important that in each tournament we play, we have a better performance than the last one by building our game style.

“It is great to be here and great to be in the home of the Olympic champions and try to play the game that they have conquered.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj

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