Latham likens gold to World Cup glory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Latham likens gold to World Cup glory

By Dave Donaghy 13/02/2006 07:40:02 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies fullback Chris Latham has likened a Commonwealth Games gold medal to World Cup glory after being drafted into the Australian rugby union Sevens squad for the showcase event in Melbourne next month.

Latham has joined Wallabies teammates Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau and Scott Fava in the squad for the Games with the sport to be played on the 16-17 March.

The quartet - one from each Australian Super 14 franchise - will spearhead the host nation alongside several regulars on the international sevens circuit.

Latham said a medal would be a highly treasured addition to the trophy cabinet with few players getting the opportunity to claim one.

"If you win that gold medal it stacks up pretty high," he said.

"You've obviously got the World Cup and that's the pinnacle of rugby in general but, like I said, there's not too many professional rugby players that get that opportunity; one, to play in a Commonwealth Games and then two, to win a gold medal.

"It's certainly going to sit up very highly if not with a World Cup."

Latham's club side Queensland would have had less reservations about releasing him for the event than the other Super 14 franchises.

The Reds enjoy the bye that week but Tuqiri and Fava will miss the NSW-Western Force clash in Perth while the Brumbies will be without Giteau for their away game against Auckland.

"Fortunately we've got a bye so I'm very happy about that," Latham said.

"I expressed a lot of interest in wanting to play and it was pretty much just a matter of the formalities of everything getting done and the Super 14 franchises in Australia releasing their players.

"I think it's a credit to the franchises to be able to release the guys in which (coach) Glen (Ella) and the selectors had wanted to play in the team."

Australians Sevens coach Glen Ella said the Wallabies stars could "make the difference."

"The good thing about it is you didn't have to convince these guys to play for Australia in the Commonwealth Games," he added.

"They wanted to and they were jumping out of their skins so it's easy when you're working with guys of that calibre who actually want to participate."

The squad's Wallabies contingent will be joined by regulars Shawn Mackay, Joshua Gamgee, Luke Inman, Damon Murphy and Nick Reily.

Queensland Reds forward Tom McVerry, Western Force utility back Cameron Shepherd and pocket-sized flyer Brendan Williams, who has returned from Italian club Benetton, were also included.

The team was announced on the same day Ella's team was trounced 26-5 by South Africa in the quarter finals of the Los Angeles event on the IRB sevens circuit won by England.

The Australians have been grouped in Pool C with England, Cook Islands and Sri Lanka.

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