Australia Sevens coach Andy Friend has opted not to include 58-Test Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper in his 12-man squad for the Sydney Sevens.
Cooper joined the team midweek after completing his commitments to French club Toulon, and was widely expected to play in his first sevens tournament as he looks to win a place in the Australian Olympic squad.
However, Friend said Cooper’s late arrival and limited preparation time had swayed the decision to delay his sevens debut.
‘Quade is an exceptional footballer and has shown real character to put his hand up and say I want to be part of this team, and work hard for this opportunity. That’s exactly what you want.
‘There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a tremendous addition to the squad as we build towards Rio, but due to circumstances which were beyond Quade’s control, and our control, he just couldn’t get enough work in this week with the team.’
Friend added that they were willing to wait until the time was right to introduce Cooper to action.
‘Quade is going to get his opportunities during the series and we are really excited to have him here in our group and with us throughout this preparation. He’ll spend the weekend embedded with the squad as well, and that contact [with the team] is a really important part of his learning process in a different version of the game.’
While Cooper was omitted, Friend did opt to include fellow World Cup squad member Henry Speight, who will play in his first sevens tournament on home soil.
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