Tuqiri looms as Australia's attacking weapon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri looms as Australia's attacking weapon

By Michael Crutcher 31/01/2003 08:20:19 PM Comments (0)

Eager recruit Lote Tuqiri looms as Australia's attacking weapon when he makes his international rugby union debut in the Ballymore leg of the World Sevens series on Saturday.

Tuqiri and Wallaby Chris Latham are sevens rookies, still trying to cope with the lightning pace of the shortened game following a hectic four-day preparation.

But Australian coach Bill Millard hopes Tuqiri's reputation as an international rugby league player will put him on the most-wanted list of the 15 rival nations at the two-day tournament.

"They're not going to headhunt him but they're aware who he is because he's got the potential to be a real handful with his size, speed and step," Millard said.

"Sevens rugby is all one-on-one defence and, if Lote can commit two players, he's going to open a gap for somebody else.

"He and Chris want to get heavily involved early and they really can't wait to play - they're jumping out of their skins and I've almost got to hold them back."

Tuqiri, Latham and ACT Brumbies backrower Scott Fava have learned plenty about sevens rugby this week, adding some football experience to a young Australian squad.

The trio has completed rushed preparations after spending the summer training for the Super 12 series, which begins in three weeks.

Australia won last year's Ballymore sevens round but the home team had a completely different look, boasting a core of experienced sevens players including Richard Graham, Tim Atkinson and Julian Huxley.

Former league stars Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers played in that tournament but it was the old heads who ensured Australia thrashed New Zealand 28-0 in the final.

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