Australian Rugby Sevens side

The Men's Rugby Sevens side will have to face New Zealand in the group stage Photo: Aussie 7s/twitter

The Australian men's Rugby Sevens squad has changed since its appearance at Rio 2016, with ten players making their Olympic debut.

The Australian Olympic Committee announced the men’s Rugby Sevens team in a dual announcement on Saturday morning.

it’s a very different looking side to the one that appeared at the 2016 Olympic debut of Rugby Sevens, with only Henry Hutchinson and captain, Nick Malouf. It is not an inexperienced squad, across the 12 players the side has 174 caps of World Series experience.

The 10 debutants includes Dylan Pietsch, a proud Wiradjuri man. The Olympics will be one of the 23-year-old’s final Rugby Sevens tournaments as he makes the switch to the XVs next year, joining the Warratahs as he looks to break into the Wallabies squad as the 15th indigenous man to join the side.

A proud member of the Dharawal nation, Maurice Longbottom was told he was too small to be a professional footballer during his time in the South Sydney Rabbitohs juniors program. Since making the switch to Rugby Sevens he’s become a star of the game.

Despite not having too much experience in the Rugby Sevens side, Samu Kerevi played for the Wallabies, earning 29 caps and 25 tries in his time with the side.

Chef de Mission, Ian Chesterman praised the athletes earning selection in such difficult times.

“It is fantastic to announce these 24 athletes to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said at the dual announcement.

“COVID and the postponement has made this a tough campaign, and today’s selection is testament to the extraordinary determination of these athletes to be at their best and to represent their country despite those difficulties.

“Thank you to Rugby Australia for developing a great sevens program and helping take athletes from their first game of rugby to competing on the world’s biggest sporting stage and to the players’ families, friends, teammates and supporters who have been their every step of the way.”

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Pietsch’s journey to reach Tokyo hasn’t been an easy one, and he paid tribute to the organisations and people that helped him reach his Olympic debut.

“It’s an incredible moment for everyone in the team to be selected to compete at an Olympic Games,” Pietsch said.

“It’s not about us as individuals, instead as a collective team.”

“To have both myself and Moz [Maurice Longbottom] in the team coming from an Indigenous background makes the selection extra special and it’s a credit to the pathways in place with the Lloyd McDermott foundation.

“We have spent the past few years developing our systems, refining and process and will now look to apply ourselves on the world stage.”

“How we play is a representation of more than just the selected players, we have an entire Aussie 7s family back home who have sacrificed so much to get us here, the unknown has been hard to navigate but we now have the Olympics firmly in our sights.”

Tim Walsh, head coach of the men’s side welcomed the long awaited announcement confident in the squad’s ability.

“The most anticipated Olympics in history is only 20 days away and today we finalised the final 12 representing the Aussie 7s program, Rugby Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee,” Walsh said

“We are a diverse squad of individuals and skillsets and together we are ready to challenge the best players and teams in the Rugby sevens world.

“Today we are both physically and mentally fit, thanks to players and management making performance choices and doing their job to their best ability.

“Congratulations to the final 12 and the entire Sevens program for delivering us to this point, the next month is going to be one to remember.”

The side will have a challenging group stage, coming up against New Zealand, Argentina and the Republic of Korea in their pool, needing to finish in the top two of the group to guarantee a place in the quarter finals.

Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens Team

NameOlympic Games
Lachlan AndersonDebut
Josh CowardDebut
Henry Hutchison2nd (2016)
Samu KereviDebut
Maurice LongbottomDebut
Nick Malouf (c)2nd (2016)
Lachlan MillerDebut
Henry PatersonDebut
Dylan PietschDebut
Joe PincusDebut
Dietrich RoacheDebut
Josh TurnerDebut

The men’s Rugby Sevens competition will be commence on 26 July.

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