rugby.com.au 08.Jan.2013Getty Images
The Thunderbolts provide O’Connor an opportunity to further develop the experience of his players prior to the resumption of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which kicks off in 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand on 1-2 February.
The Uprising Fiji International Sevens will be the first action for members of the Qantas Men’s Sevens since their Bowl championship win in the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth in December 2012.
O’Connor plans to use the Uprising tournament to return several players from injury and build a platform for Wellington in February.
“The biggest thing these guys need is more game time together,” O’Connor said.
“We showed from Dubai to Port Elizabeth the benefits of having played more time together and this is another opportunity to gain some experience before we’re back on the World Series.”
The Thunderbolts will feature seven members of the Qantas Men’s Sevens side that claimed the Bowl in Port Elizabeth, with Cam Clark, Con Foley, Pama Fou, Laloifi Junior Laloifi, Peter Lee, Nick Malouf and Jordan Tuapou named in the side.
Returning from injury are Lewis Holland, Jesse Parahi and Shannon Walker.
Meanwhile, Australian Under-20 player Thomas Cusack and former Gold Coast Titans development prospect Lausii Taliauli have also been brought into the squad.
The Uprising Fiji International Sevens runs 18-19 January in Suva, Fiji.