Sevens stars old and new embrace Series return

Fri, 26/11/2021, 02:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Australia faced off against New Zealand at day three of the Oceania Sevens at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

As the men's side prepare for a new era, Sevens stars Billy Meakes and Henry Paterson are preparing to take the field in Dubai haven taken two separate paths to the Australian side.

Meakes' Sevens journey started nearly ten years ago in Port Elizabeth, his lone appearance for the program before focusing on his 15-a-side career.

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Having plied his trade across the world, the 30-year-old will make his return in the opening round of the Series, taking advantage of the relationship between the Giltinis and the program.

“It’s been a while between drinks but it’s a very special moment for me to get the call to join the boys in Dubai,” Meakes said at the jersey presentation.

“Whilst I’m only here for a little bit, I’m keen to rip in and contribute as much as I can to this group.

“It’s a very exciting squad, all super young around the age of 22. We had our first field session (in Dubai) yesterday and it’s exciting. There’s so much talent, hunger to succeed so I’m really happy to watch the boys run out this weekend.

“This is probably a pretty special relationship between the LA Giltinis and the Sevens obviously with Stephen Holies taking over and having that relationship with Walshy.

“It’s amazing for players to cross between and it allows itself to happen…it’s a pretty special moment.”

Meakes joins a fairly inexperienced Australian side, with eight players set for the World Series debut.

Paterson looms as one of the main figures heading forward in the program, one of eight to sign a full-time deal.

The Easts product was named in the squad for the Tokyo Olympics before a last-minute injury forced him to miss the event.

Having completed his rehab, Paterson was embracing the 'surreal' second opportunity at debut, with Australia kicking off their tournament against Canada (6:00 pm AEDT).

“It feels pretty surreal to be honest. It was a tough time around Tokyo, a lot of emotions after that. To work through the injury rehab and get my way back into the squad is unreal, just taking it all in,” Paterson said.

“I’m not taking it for granted, just enjoying every moment of it.

“The first thing I need to do (for rehab) was to get my mind right and then focus on my body after missing out in such a devastating way. The rehab team were great in getting back to full strength and training and got some great prep in for this tournament.”

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