Graham Croker


Sydney University Football Club will provide five of the Aussie Thunder squad to contest the Gold Coast and Noose Sevens tournaments later this month.


Ed Jenkins, Bernard Foley, Michael Hodge, Trent Dyer and Greg Jeloudev have been named in the 13-man squad unveiled today by Australian Rugby Sevens coach Michael O’Connor. Foley was a member of the Commonwealth Games Sevens team that won a silver medal in Delhi last month.


The youthful Aussie Thunder squad will play their first tournament together on the Gold Coast on 13-14 November before heading to Noosa the following weekend (20-21 November).


The domestic tournaments will serve as key preparation ahead of Australia’s assault on the 2010-11 HSBC Sevens World Series, which begins in Dubai on 3-4 December before stops in South Africa, New Zealand, the US, Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.


Australia finished third overall last season to achieve their best World Series result since 2000-01 and four members of the Games squad – captain Pat McCutcheon, tour bolter Nick Phipps and wingers Lachie Turner and Luke Morahan – were rewarded with selection on the Wallabies Spring Tour. McCutcheon and Phipps are also SUFC representatives, with McCutcheon handling the Club Captain duties for the past two seasons.


O’Connor is rebuilding the Australian Sevens team after losing most of his top squad to Super Rugby.


“In the past we haven’t had the luxury of game time before we’ve launched into the HSBC Sevens World Series,” O’Connor said. “There’s no substitute for time on the field under proper match conditions.


“In Australia top-level competitions have been pretty scarce but the Gold Coast and Noosa International Sevens tournaments will provide fantastic preparation for us.


“It’s the perfect opportunity for some of these blokes to find their feet in Sevens and with positions up for grabs for the World Series, you can be sure the boys won’t be holding back.”


A change to the HSBC Sevens World Series calendar in 2011 sees the Hong Kong event in March precede the Australian leg of the tournament which will be staged at Adelaide Oval on 2-3 April.


Aussie Thunder: Ed Jenkins, Bernard Foley, Shaun Foley, Tevita Kuridrani, Jono Lance, Hamish Angus, John Grant, Dan Yakopo, Michael Hodge, Kyle Godwin, Zack Holmes, Trent Dyer and Greg Jeloudev.