Dunbar to lead Aussies as Manenti confirms latest debutant for LA Sevens

Tue, Feb 21, 2023, 10:19 PM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Stu Dunbar will lead the Australians in LA. Photo: Getty Images
Stu Dunbar will lead the Australians in LA. Photo: Getty Images

Australian Men's Sevens coach John Manenti has confirmed his side for the Los Angeles Sevens, set to kick off on February 26.

Sevens stalwart Stu Dunbar will lead the side for the first time, with Henry Hutchison (knee) and Nick Malouf (ankle) also ruled out for next week's event in Vancouver.

Catch all the action of the World Series LIVE on Kayo and BEIN Sports

Manenti has also named Hayden Sargeant to make his Sevens debut, with the former Junior Wallabies back making his name with Sunnybank in Queensland's Premier Rugby.

Sargeant is one of two changes from Sydney, with the squad boosted by the return of Matt Gonzalez from a hamstring injury.

"The boys have worked really hard over the past few weeks and are ready for one of our favourite tournaments on the circuit,” said Manenti.

“We have named a debutant – Hayden Sargeant – who comes from the Gold Coast and has been playing through the Sevens pathways and Bond University Rugby Club for several years.

“Matt Gonzalez returns from injury to take his place in the squad, providing us with great options around our ball players.

“Our pool has us line up against Kenya, Japan and Fiji – all very tough sides that play different styles of rugby – and we look forward to the challenges they will each bring to the tournament.”

Australia will open its campaign against Kenya on February 26 (5:43 am AEDT), eager to improve after their 19-all draw in Dubai.

This will be followed by a clash with Japan (8:56 am), who they defeated 61-0 in last year's LA event.

Their Pool C action will round out with a blockbuster match against Fiji (1:05 pm), their first match-up since Australia defeated the defending Rugby Sevens World Cup champions in the Hong Kong Final.

“We’ve had some success in both Los Angeles and Vancouver in recent years, so we’ll be looking to replicate that by playing to our potential,” Dunbar added.

“There’s a lot of speed in this touring squad, which should suit the conditions in both locations.

“The last three weeks have been as good a training block as we’ve had, which has given us a lot of confidence.

“Within our team, everyone is encouraged to be themselves and contribute in whichever way is required, because it takes a full squad performance to get onto the podium.”

The matches will be broadcasted live and on-demand via BeIN Sports and Kayo Sports

Men’s Sevens Squad for LA

Stu Dunbar (C)

Dietrich Roache

Tim Clements

Henry Paterson (VC)

Josh Turner

Dally Bird

Matt Gonzalez

Maurice Longbottom (VC)

Nathan Lawson

James Turner

Trae Williams

Darby Lancaster

Hayden Sargeant*

*Denotes a debut

Australian Sevens Los Angeles Pool C Schedule

*All times AEDT

Sunday February 25

Australia v Kenya, 5:43 am

Australia v Japan, 8:56 am

Australia v Fiji, 1:05 pm

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