Cult Wallabies winger Nick Cummins is unlikely to make the Rio Olympics after being ruled out of a crucial training camp with a knee injury.
Such setbacks have wreaked havoc with the 28-year-old’s efforts to make Australia’s Games rugby sevens squad since he played his first tournament in April, and now a minor knee injury has struck him out of a week-long camp in Darwin beginning on Friday.
With the camp being the last before practice matches ahead of the squad selection date in mid-July, coach Andy Friend has indicated he’s unlikely to pick outside the 16-man Darwin squad for Rio.
“I’ve made it clear to the group that it’ll be tough to make the squad for Rio if they haven’t been selected for Darwin,” Friend said.
It means that, of the three Wallabies who attempted to make the transition for the Olympics, it appears none will make it.
The highest profile, playmaker Quade Cooper, struggled to adapt in the limited game time available on release from his French club Toulon.
Winger Henry Speight was also ruled out after a serious knee injury sustained in a practice match last week, and now it seems only a similar fate to other players will offer Cummins any chance.
“As we have found to our detriment this past week, injuries can happen at any time so we need the entire group to be ready to step into the breach at short notice,” Friend said.
“I have had a commitment from the non-travelling players that they will continue to work hard back in Sydney and maintain the high standards that this program has set.”
The Thunderbolts also lost powerful outside back Pama Fou to a knee injury last week, but have regained star playmaker Lewis Holland from a two-month lay-off due to an ankle setback.
It’s likely the squad will be reduced to approximately 14 for the six matches scheduled against Japan next month, before Friend drops it again to 12 for the Olympics.
Darwin training squad: Cameron Clark, Tom Cusack, Allan Fa’alava’au, Sam Figg, Con Foley, Lewis Holland, Henry Hutchison, Ed Jenkins, Boyd Killingworth, Tom Kingston, Nick Malouf, Pat McCutcheon, Sam Myers, Jesse Parahi, John Porch, James Stannard.