Super Rugby stars Liam Gill and Sean McMahon have been included in a 12-man Australian sevens rugby squad for Glasgow.
Wallaby Liam Gill hopes his second trip to the Commonwealth Games with the Australian sevens team is a help rather than a hindrance to his ambitions of getting back into Test rugby.
Gill and fellow Super Rugby star Sean McMahon joined the Australian set-up last week and will add a tough edge as part of new coach Geraint John’s 12-man squad for Glasgow.
Queensland flanker Gill is determined to regain his place in the Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship which immediately follows the Commonwealth Games, and he’s spoken to Test coach Ewen McKenzie about his chances.
With the Reds out of contention for the Super Rugby finals, 22-year-old Gill – a 15-Test Wallaby – is confident he won’t be harming his Test ambitions by shooting for a gold medal in Glasgow to add to his silver from Delhi in 2010.
“I certainly think there’s an avenue through sevens,” Gill told AAP.
“I know the ARU is working with Geraint and both sevens and 15s on really building that relationship.
“I think there’s space to be jumping back and forth.
“Sevens presents a chance for me to knuckle down on my fitness, my skills in space, my ball skills and they’re aspects of my game which need improving.
“That can only be a good thing for my game.
“Ewen just said go and be part of a successful team, help drive the team to success and then we’ll worry about the Rugby Championship.
“It’s up to me to go out and prove I can play at Wallaby level.”
Only Gill, captain Ed Jenkins and veteran James Stannard were part of the Delhi squad, with John naming nine Commonwealth Games debutants.
World No.1s and four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallists New Zealand will start as overwhelming favourites, but Gill says Australia are aiming high.
“I have great memories from Delhi … but losing that final really stung. We were lucky enough to win a silver, but that’s not the aspiration of this team,” said Gill.
“We’ve come here to win it.
“We’ve all got that mindset.”
John said his only regret was not being able to pick Tongan-born former NSW Waratahs flyer Afa Pakalani – who hasn’t received his Australian citizenship in time.
“It’s disappointing because he impresses me. Got good feet, good hands, and has that (unique) ability in attack,” John said.
Australia feature in Group D in Glasgow, where they will face England, Sri Lanka and Uganda.
John’s side would then face a likely quarter-final match-up against Samoa or Wales.
Australian squad: Ed Jenkins (capt), Liam Gill, Sean McMahon, James Stannard, Greg Jeloudev, Cameron Clark, Jesse Parahi, Tom Cusack, Sam Myers, Con Foley, Tom Lucas, Pama Fou.