Road to Rio

SBW, Honey Badger and France star Vakatawa all chasing 7s comebacks in Hong Kong

The 15-a-side stars of France, Australia and New Zealand are at very different points in their quest for a room in the Olympic village.

THE SQUADS FOR next weekend’s leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong have begun flowing in, and there’s no shortage of big names from 15-a-side.

Having impressed in flashes during France’s Six Nations campaign, Virimi Vakatawa will be back in the shortened form of rugby next weekend.

But the attention, as ever, is grabbed by the All Blacks. Currently sitting third in the competition behind Fiji and South Africa, New Zealand will welcome Sonny Bill Williams back from a knee injury when they face France in the pool stage next Friday.

Australia World Rugby Sevens Rob Griffith At the Sydney 7s, SBW passes to Joe Webber, who misses the next two rounds with injury. Rob Griffith

Speedster Isaac Te Tamaki also returns in a 14-man squad to cover the Series legs in both Hong Kong and Singapore. However, the ABs will be without the likes of Akira Ioane and Ardie Savea due to Super Rugby commitments.

Australia Rugby France Tertius Pickard Tertius Pickard

Australia have yet to confirm their squad for Hong Kong, but the fourth-place side put Wallaby wing Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins through his paces yesterday. The 28-year-old international hasn’t played the shortened form of the game for his country since 2010, but he isn’t the only one feeling the draw of this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

“I’m hoping to play in one of the upcoming tournaments,” says ‘The Badge.’

But you’ve got to be body ready. If you’re running out there under-strength you’ll either blow a gasket or twinge a hamburgler. And that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to get in the best shape you can for Rio.”

“There was a bit of black smoke but we got it done — I didn’t finish first but I didn’t finish last.”

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