There’s more to this weekend then just winning a World Series Sevens tournament for Australian coach Andy Friend.
He’s still looking to finalise his Rio Olympic team for August, and admits three or four spots in his 12-man squad are still up for grabs.
And while Friend has a handful of internal trials and training camps planned next month, the tournament at Twickenham is his last chance to examine his squad in the international arena.
“Everything we’ve been driving is towards Rio,” Friend said.
“With every tournament, it becomes a little bit clearer. At the same time, we’ve still got two and a bit months before that team plays.
“After this weekend, I’ll have a better idea of course.”
As well as the returning Henry Speight, Tommy Cusack, and Nick Malouf, Friend said he had other quality players putting their hands up.
“Greg Jeloudev if his foot’s right, Lewie Holland still has to come back into the group. It’s tough, we’ve got a lot of quality footballers in the squad.”
Australia are yet to win a round of this season’s World Series, but they’ve had a fairly consistent campaign and sit fourth in the standings going into the final round.
Friend’s team is 39 points off leaders Fiji, but he doesn’t think the gap to the world No.1 team is that wide.
“I think they’re really close. They’re definitely in our sights,” Friend said.
“If you look at the last four games that we’ve played them, we beat them game one in Vancouver, we got a touch up against them in Hong Kong.
“We should’ve beaten them all bar the last play of the game in Singapore and then on the weekend, in my opinion, we had them and then we let them go again.
“They’re very close, were feeling a lot more comfortable with our game plan against them. We’ll get a chance this weekend to have another crack at them on Saturday.
“We are good enough to beat them, I do believe that, and we are good enough to win a gold medal and win a tournament.
“Whether it’s this weekend, I’m not sure.”
It’ll be a slightly different Fiji outfit this weekend, after the inclusion of ex-Parramatta Eel superstar Jarryd Hayne.
The code-hopper arrived in London on Monday, announcing his intentions to play for Fiji in the Olympic Sevens in Rio, and comes into the side as cover for injured playmaker Vatemo Ravouvou.
Friend welcomed the inclusion of Hayne in Fiji’s side, but said the 28-year-old faced a steep learning curve.
“It’s great for our sport, there’re a lot of people watching it, but it’s going to be a great litmus test for the sport just to see how well he goes,” Friend said.
“If he gets shown up, it just shoes how far the game of sevens has come. If he goes really well, I think it more shows what a tremendous athlete he is.