McCutcheon set for return at Vegas Sevens
RUGBY SEVENS: Pat McCutcheon has a Commonwealth Games silver medal and is hoping to add to his tally, with a return to the Aussie Sevens team in Las Vegas.
McCutcheon last played for the Australian Sevens in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, before a Super Rugby stint with the Waratahs.
Hamstring tendonitis quashed his return to the World Series at the end of last year but he has recovered fully ahead of the Las Vegas tournament.
The 28-year-old said plenty had changed in Sevens since his last outing.
“Definitely from an Australian perspective (it’s changed),” he said.
“It’s gone from semi to a fully professional environment and there’s the use of all five subs rather than three like what it was when I last played.
“It’s definitely turned it more into a speed and power game rather than an endurance game and that leads to exciting football.”
McCutcheon will be a major boost on and off the field or the Sevens, regarded as a spiritual squad leader.
Despite his influence, McCutcheon said he would have to perform to clinch a spot in the Rio Olympic squad.
“You can be the best trainer in the squad but put the performances out on the park,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to Friendy (Sevens coach Andy Friend) and we were bluntly honest to one another.
“I missed the first four tournaments, adapting to the sevens program but I feel like I put the time and effort in and now I’ve got the opportunity (to prove myself).
“All athletes train and do what they do to perform and play and it’s important to play and obviously get selected and keep selected through form.
McCutcheon said the side was focused on continuing the momentum they generated in Sydney, with a Cup final appearance.
“We always look to better our performances and there’s always key things we can improve,” he said.
“We’re not looking to go backwards. Sydney was a great tournament and it was great to perform there.
“The challenge is back on us as a team to come out with the goods.”
Men’s Sevens coach Andy Friend said McCutcheon would be a welcome addition to the side.
“He’s a real leader in the group, culturally and certainly he brings a lot of good value,” he said.
“I’m really pleased for him, the boys are pleased for him.
“He’s on the double for Vegas and Vancouver so it’s a really good opportunity for him.
“(He’ll bring) his physicality, he’s a thick sort of bloke and hopefully he’s going to put that to good use and be a real pest for opposition to get off the ball.”
The USA Sevens kicks off on Saturday, Australian time. Fans will be able to watch all of the action from Las Vegas LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens fixtures in Las Vegas, USA, 5-6 March
Australia v Scotland, Pool B, 1.08pm AEDT (5 March)
Australia v Japan, Pool B, 4.04pm AEDT (5 March)
Australia v England, Pool B, 8.46am AEDT (6 March)