Cooper cleared for Vancouver Sevens

Date published: March 8 2016

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Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper has has received clearance from his club side Toulon to play for Australia at the Canada Sevens this weekend.

The 27-year-old was initially not going in the mix for the Vancouver fixture but will now get a chance to gain more Sevens experience at his second Sevens tournament after a fluctuating performance in Las Vegas last weekend.

Australia coach Andy Friend has made five changes for the leg and recalled both playmaker Lewis Holland and veteran James, while 21-year-old loose forward Conor Mitchell is set to make his national Sevens bow. Stephan van der Walt and John Porch are the other new faces in the line-up, and Tom Lucas and Pat McCutheon have joined Nick Malouf, Pama Fou, Simon Kennewell, Sam Figg and Tom Cusack on the injury list with a knee and hamstring injury respectively.

Cameron Clark, Ed Jenkins and Greg Jedoudev drop out of the Australian squad that displayed brilliant performances but were runners-up after losing to Fiji in the final of the USA Sevens.

“The team performed well last weekend but this series doesn’t wait around and as a squad we have to look forward. We want to be playing for world series points at the top end of the table and in order to do so we need to consistently qualify for cup semi-finals, cup finals and ultimately win cup finals," Friend told Fox Sports.

"We’ve decided to freshen things up for Vancouver in order to give players additional experience and to manage workloads. I feel we’re building a genuine depth in our player pool at the moment and we’re slowly getting to a stage where we can count on any of the players in the program to step into the breach."

Australia has been drawn in Pool B for the Vancouver showpiece alongside hosts Canada, Wales and Russia.

“We’re playing teams who will be hungry to turn us over,” said Friend.

“Russia are newcomers who are beginning to find their feet while we know what the effect of a home crowd can have on you from our experience in Sydney.

“It lifts everyone and that makes Canada particularly dangerous. Wales did well in Vegas, meanwhile, to win what was a competitive bowl competition. It’s exciting times for us, but at the same time, we’re taking things game-by-game. There is no other way or you run a big risk of falling short against any country.”

Australia are fourth on the World Series standings after making successive cup finals in Sydney and Vegas, and are nine points behind third-placed New Zealand.

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