Aussie men want to be triple sevens threat

Australian men’s sevens coach Andy Friend has laid down three big targets as the side attempts to snap a title drought that stretches back to 2012.

The team will depart for Germany on Sunday for the Oktoberfest 7s, with a lofty goal to win next year’s Sydney World Sevens leg, Commonwealth Games gold and the San Francisco World Cup.

It is an ambitious aim for a side that hasn’t tasted glory since winning the Tokyo World Sevens leg five years ago, but one Friend won’t shy away from.

“If we want to grow the sport and grow the profile of these tremendous young men, we need to win stuff,” he told AAP.

“We’ve got three big targets coming up and we want to win them.”

Missing the injured Ed Jenkins, the young 12-man squad boast just 112 caps between them.

James Stannard (41 caps) is by far the most experienced member of the touring party.

Finishing last season in sixth, Australia will blood rookies Jeral Skelton, Ben O’Donnell, Maurice Longbottom and Matthew Hood at the Munich invitational.

The side still has three top-tier contracts to award, giving the pool games against Fiji, Chile and Ireland added significance.

“We used 24 players in 10 tournaments last season and will probably use more given the additions to our schedule this season,” Friend said.

“I’m probably 75 per cent comfortable with the squad we’ve got; there’s good depth now and it’s about identifying others with the potential to play at that level.”

Australia are fresh off an unbeaten six-game friendly series against Japan, but Friend knows there is plenty of work to do to catch World Series champions South Africa.

“We’re equal best in the world at line breaks and getting into the attacking zone, but 12th best from scoring from there,” Friend explained.

“So we need to work on our composure and execution under fatigue to finish those opportunities, and we need to be more dominant with our tackles.”

The two-day tournament begins on Friday, while the World Sevens Series kicks off in Dubai on December 1.

AUSTRALIA: Jeral Skelton, Simon Kennewell, Ben O’Donnell, Maurice Longbottom, James Stannard, John Porch, Tim Anstee, Matthew Hood, Boyd Killingworth, Tom Lucas, Brandon Quinn, Lachlan Anderson.

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