By Chris Ford
It’s been a rollercoaster ride in the last two years for the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens team after finishing eighth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Australia have won medals at the last two Commonwealth Games following a Bronze in Glasgow four years ago to add to their Silver from Delhi 2010.
The incredibly competitive Sevens World Series will take a one-week hiatus for the Games on the Gold Coast with the famous Hong Kong Sevens immediately preceding the action at Robina Stadium.
Australia currently sit fifth on the World Series standings after seven events, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa.
Ten of the top 15 sides in the world will descend on the Gold Coast including seven nations that are currently in the top ten on the standings.
Andy Friend’s side have already tasted Cup success in the 2017/18 season following a drought-breaking win in Sydney in February.
Australia waltzed their way to Cup glory after convincing victories over New Zealand, Argentina and then finally World Champions South Africa in front of a packed house at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Things haven’t all gone to plan since then though after the announcement that coach Andy Friend won’t have his contract renewed following the Commonwealth Games.
Australia have also had to make several changes to their initial Games squad, with regular captain Lewis Holland having to withdraw because of a hamstring tendon injury.
Veteran James Stannard was named as the stand-in skipper but his reign didn’t last long after an alleged unprovoked one-punch attack on the streets of Sydney left him with a fractured skull to rule him out of what would’ve been his third Commonwealth Games.
Experienced campaigner Jesse Parahi then inherited the captaincy as Friend was forced into a squad reshuffle just a week out from the showpiece event.
Tom Lucas, Sam Myers and Parahi are the only members of the squad with Commonwealth Games experience and are desperate to add to their Bronze from Glasgow.
Australia take on Samoa, Jamaica and England in Pool B on Saturday April 14 before Finals day commences on Sunday April 15.