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Fiji Time: 2:22 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Heat to take its toll

Zanzeer Singh
Friday, January 18, 2013

AUSTRALIAN Thunderbolts coach Michael O'Connor believes the heat will play a major role during the Uprising Fiji International 7s tournament in Lautoka.

The Thunderbolts have included five players from the Australia team that won the bowl title during the South Africa 7s in Port Elizabeth last month.

They are Cam Clark, Con Foley, Pama Fou, Laloifi Junior Laloifi and Peter Lee.

The Aussies were forced to make last minute changes because of injuries. Charlie Clifton replaces Jordan Tuapou while Ben Adams comes in for Nick Malouf.

Australia under-20 player Thomas Cusack and former Gold Coast Titans development squad member Lausii Taliauli are part of the team with Lewis Holland and Shannon Walker making a comeback from injury.

O'Connor said they had a blend of youth and experience.

He said they had prepared well.

"It was quite hot during training here but it is nice to be in Fiji where we know we are playing in a tournament which has the best teams and players in the world," O'Conner said.

"The heat will be a factor for all the teams. It is not something that we will be drooling on.

"We have a couple of players from the last leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. But they have to perform really well to get to the next leg.

"Lewis Holland and Shannon Walker are two exciting players who have come back from injury. We will also be experimenting with a couple of new players who have shown some promise in Australia. Really this is to build our development base.

"Also we have a mind on fixing some problems that we had in South Africa and Dubai in this tournament. If the players can do that they have a good chance of being picked in the squad for Wellington and Las Vegas."

The Thunderbolts are grouped with Samoa Barbarians, Lautoka Hurricanes and Samurai Barracudas in the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre pool. O'Connor classed the Uprising Fiji International 7s tournament as highly competitive.

"This will be a great tournament as we will be competing with some of the best 7s players in the world," O'Conner said.

"The Red Rock side that won the Coral Coast 7s will be highly competitive on the HSBC SWS. In the Uprising 7s every game will be tough."

The Thunderbolts kick-off their campaign against the Viliame Satala-coached Hurricanes at 11.03am.