Wallaby wing Nick Cummins has been called up to Australia’s Sevens squad for the Hong Kong leg of World Rugby’s Sevens Series from 8 to 10 April.
The 28-year-old, who has represented Australia in 15 Tests, replaces Henry Hutchison, who has failed to recover from a minor foot problem.
Cummins won the last of his eight World Series caps in May 2007 and last represented Australia in the abbreviated form of the game at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New signing Frank Winterstein will also travel with the squad that heads to Hong Kong on Monday as the 13th player.
Skipper Ed Jenkins and star centre Cameron Clark also return after being rested for the last round in Vancouver, while Con Foley is set to become just the second Australian to win 40 World Series caps when he takes to the field at the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium next weekend.
Australia has a raft of stars unavailable for selection for the seventh leg of the 2015-16 season with Tom Cusack (wrist), Pama Fou (shoulder), Nick Malouf (knee), Tom Lucas (knee), Greg Jeloudev (foot), Simon Kennewell (ankle), Pat McCutcheon (hamstring) and Henry Speight (eye) all missing out.
The in-form Australians have drawn a testing Pool C alongside Cape Town finalists Argentina, the USA and Portugal. Should the Australians qualify for at least the Cup semi-final stage in Hong Kong it will be the first time that they have reached the last four in four straight tournaments since 2001.
Friend is keen for his side to impress but expects some tough encounters in his side’s pool.
“Hong Kong represents the perfect opportunity to continue the momentum we have been slowly building this season. We’re on a good run but it’s important we remain clinical in everything we do in both attack and defence,” he said.
“We are building a large pool of quality players that I believe will serve us well for the remainder of the season which will create huge competition for places come the Olympics and beyond. We do, however, have plenty of hard work on our hands before we even begin to think about Rio.
“We have drawn a pool of teams in Hong Kong that will demand our respect. Argentina have already played in one Cup Final this season while the USA can beat anyone on their day as they have proved against New Zealand on more than one occasion this season.
“Portugal are facing a fight to retain their World Series status next season so will come out hungry and looking to turn us over.”
Australia Sevens squad: Nick Cummins, Tom Kingston, Sam Myers, Lewis Holland, James Stannard, Con Foley, Cameron Clark, Stephan Van Der Walt, Ed Jenkins, Allan Faalavaau, John Porch, Boyd Killingworth. 13th player: Frank Winterstein