Friend not in need of Cooper for sevens

Australian coach Andy Friend admitted he had considered giving Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper limited time against the weaker teams in this weekend's round of the sevens world series in Sydney.

Cooper trained with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday after flying in from France where he has been playing with Toulon, and again yesterday despite being left out of the Thunderbolts' squad the previous day.

"We could have picked 12 or 11 players and used Quade very sparingly, but that puts a lot of pressure on the other 11 players," Friend told reporters. "Our intention in this tournament is to try and win it and we therefore wanted to pick what we felt was the squad with the best chance to do that."

New Zealand-born Cooper did have another very important reason to travel to Australia, though, needing to get his Australian citizenship to ensure he would be eligible to play in this year's Olympic Games in Rio.

Cooper is expected to play in the next round in Las Vegas early next month.

Australia has regained Wallaby flier Henry Speight, and sevens regulars Ed Jenkins, Cameron Clark and Con Foley after they missed last weekend's third round in Wellington.

The team is yet to make it past the quarter-finals, and Friend said he hoped to go one step further in Sydney.

Australia has drawn alongside New Zealand, Canada and Portugal, and will need to win two of those Pool A matches today to reach tomorrow's quarter-finals.

Meanwhile San Francisco 49ers player and former NRL star Jarryd Hayne was a special guest at Fiji training, presented with a No.38 team jersey (his number at the 49ers), before joining in a stirring rendition of a traditional hymn with the squad.



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