A bathroom accident has forced rugby sevens strike weapon Pama Fou out of the Australian team, delivering a major blow to their hopes of a Rio Olympic medal.
The 25-year-old ruptured his ACL when he slipped as he got out of the shower at his Sydney home on Wednesday afternoon, and he was officially ruled out of the squad on Friday.
He had only just returned from shoulder surgery and had weathered a physical six-game mini-series with the Australian development team.
The gutted Fou will undergo a knee reconstruction and join fellow sevens speedster and Wallabies winger Henry Speight on the sidelines.
While Speight – who was also ruled out this week with a knee injury – was on the fringes of the Thunderbolts squad, Fou was a certainty to make the 12-man team at the Games in August.
The former Queensland volleyballer, a 196cm restart specialist and elusive attacker, has been among Australia’s most dangerous players on the world series circuit.
“We’re all devastated for Pama,” coach Andy Friend said.
“Clearly he is shattered himself and it is a bitter blow after the hard work he had put in during rehab following his shoulder injury.”
“With Henry’s knee on Tuesday, and now Pama, it’s fair to say it’s not been the best of weeks on the injury front, but this now provides a new opportunity for a champion to emerge.”
In good news for the Thunderbolts, playmaker Lewis Holland will return to full training next week after recovering from an ankle injury that grounded him while in career-best form.
Nick Malouf (knee) and Tom Cusack (wrist) came through the trial matches against the Australian development side following lengthy lay-offs and will join a 16-man squad at a Darwin training camp next week.