Aussie coach adds youth to Paris Sevens squad
AUSTRALIA men's coach Andy Friend has made three changes to his team to contest the Paris Sevens which kicks off on May 13.
Alex Gibbon returns to the squad after missing out in Hong Kong and Singapore, while Boyd Killingworth has passed the return-to-play protocols after concussion ruled him out of Singapore.
Youngster Dylan Pietsch also returns to the 12 after featuring as 13th man in Australia's fourth-place finish in Singapore.
Tom Lucas has been forced out with a knee injury that he suffered in Singapore while former skipper Ed Jenkins is set to undergo surgery on his shoulder next week.
The tournament captain will be named next week, after the team arrives in Paris.
With just two rounds remaining on the World Series, Australia (94 points) are still in the race for a top-four finish, with the side in sixth position behind the United States (101 points) and New Zealand (110).
"A massive positive for Boyd Killingworth, he was outstanding in Hong Kong before he had his concussion," Friend said.
"Unfortunately he didn't come right for Singapore but he's good now so great to have him back in the playing squad.
"The loss of Tom Lucas and Ed Jenkins is difficult as they are two very experienced players. "Tom was our captain at the last tournament but they've been replaced by some more youth, which is good so a great opportunity for this squad.
"Dylan Pietsch comes into the backline, another 18-year-old into the starting 12 so a great experience for him as an up-and-coming player.
"We played some good rugby in the last two tournaments but at the end of the day, we still finished third and fourth.
"We have some quality footballers, and regardless of age, they've shown they have great ability to play good rugby on the world stage, so we now need to take that into Paris and following that, into London."
Australia will battle it out in Pool D alongside Fiji, Samoa and Russia with all games live on Fox Sports.