Lachlan Turner into sevens overdrive
Australian sevens coach Michael O’Connor believes Commonwealth Games action will help out-of-favour Wallabies winger Lachlan Turner achieve his World Cup dream.
O’Connor on Wednesday included Turner in a 14-man national sevens squad to start its Delhi Games preparations with a four-day camp in Canberra from Sunday.
The 23-year-old Waratahs flyer was also set to be joined by blazing Queensland finisher Rod Davies in a preliminary Games squad but the Reds winger reaggravated a lingering hamstring problem on Tuesday night during training.
Turner was surprisingly overlooked for all four Tests this month in a sign he may struggle to play in the upcoming Tri-Nations.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans gave the green light for Turner to attend the Australian Institute of Sport sevens camp which concludes the day before his 30-man Tri-Nations squad is announced on July 8.
Turner, capped 11 times, has limited sevens experience but O’Connor says his pure speed and finishing ability makes him tailor-made for the fast-paced game which will debut in the Olympics in 2016.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for Lachie to show what he can do, play some good footy and go for a medal at the Commonwealth Games – he’s quite excited about it,” O’Connor told AAP.
“He’s a 15s player and his only goal is to make the World Cup, and after talking to Robbie this is one way we think he can do it.
“Often in a game of 15s you can sit out on the wing and only get one or two opportunities but sevens is a game about opportunities both in attack and defence.”
Australia’s best sevens result at the Commonwealth Games is bronze in 1998 and O’Connor is keen to boost his rising team, which finished third behind Samoa and New Zealand in the 2009-10 world series, with a couple of fringe Wallabies.
Turner’s inability to crack a Test start in June – where he was overlooked in favour of Digby Ioane, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and fullback James O’Connor – suggests he’ll have time to adapt to the sevens program.
Reds winger Luke Morahan, a 2009 Wallabies tourist, was selected for next week’s camp along with fellow Reds and Australian Under-20 players Ed Quirk, Liam Gill and Kimami Sitauti.
Waratahs back-rower Pat McCutcheon and Brumbies back Brackin Karauria-Henry are other squad members with Super 14 experience this year.
Defending gold-medallists New Zealand have also tapped into their Test squad with All Blacks duo Hosea Gear and Adam Thomson picked in their sevens team for the October event.
Sevens squad: Bernard Foley, Liam Gill, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Patrick McCutcheon, Luke Morahan, Nicholas Phipps, Edward Quirk, Brian Sefanaia, Clinton Sills, Kimami Sitauti, James Stannard, Jacob Taylor, Lachie Turner, Daniel Yakapo.© AAP 2013
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