Australian Sevens coach Andy Friend has named two new players in his squad for this weekend’s Wellington Sevens.
Relatively unknown Sydneysider Dylan Pietsch and Queenslander Tate McDermott are two of five changes to the squad which did duty at the Cape Town Sevens last December.
It was just five weeks ago that these two teenagers pulled on the Australian jersey for the World Schools Sevens tournament in Auckland, where the Aussies defeated the Samoa Barbarians 24-19 in the Cup final.
The pair continued their good form at the Hottest7s on the weekend, which did not go unnoticed by Australia Sevens head coach Andy Friend.
“Both Tate and Dylan performed well up at Darwin,” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.
“Dylan’s quite a big bloke for an 18-year old; he’s got a good step on him and a good carry of the football – Momentum is his friend and he’s a powerful boy.
“Tate is more of a half, he’s sees the game of football and has very good feet on him to put people through holes and he can get through holes himself as well.”
With a good performance at next week’s Sydney Sevens high on the priority list, Friend will head across the ditch with a marked absence of experience.
The big omissions are Ed Jenkins (shoulder) and Jesse Parahi after the latter went down with a injury to his jaw at training.
With the long-term injury absence of Lewis Holland, Tom Lucas and Nick Malouf making life difficult for Friend, a rebuilding process is evident for this season, but he remains determined that finishing outside the final eight in each tournament is unacceptable.
“The important thing for us is to get out of that third tier of teams,” said Friend.
“We finished 11th in our last tournament and we have (therefore) put ourselves in a very tough pool, so we have to fight and get out of that.”
Australia 7s squad:
Henry Hutchison, Tom Kingston, Sam Myers, Alex Gibbon, James Stannard, Tate McDermott, Boyd Killingworth, Dylan Pietsch, Tim Anstee, Michael Adams, Charlie Taylor, Conor Mitchell
Replacement: Simon Kennewell