Simon Kennewell will be sorely missed by the Aussies this weekend.
Simon Kennewell will be sorely missed by the Aussies this weekend.

Aussies struggle with teammate’s ‘cruel blow’

RUGBY: Rising Aussie star Simon Kennewell has suffered a heartbreaking knee injury at training, ruling him out of the Sydney Sevens and the major Commonwealth Games and World Cup tournaments later this year.

Kennewell, 21, was training at Moore Park on Tuesday ahead of the Sydney Sevens when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

He will undergo reconstruction surgery and miss the rest of the season.

Warringah flanker Tom Connor has been called into the Australian team for Sydney. He will make his debut in the Sydney Sevens tournament his weekend after many years on the fringes of the Aussie team.

"It's incredibly disappointing for Simon. He's been one of our most improved players in the last year and is now a player that the opposition fear and respect," Australia coach Andy Friend said.

"It's a cruel blow for him personally but also us as a team with so much at stake for us over the next six months. Simon is a fighter though, and with the full support of the squad, we know he'll come back bigger and better.

"This injury now provides an opportunity for Tom Connor. Tom has been knocking on the door for over five years now searching for an opportunity to represent his country on the World Series. He's played for Australia previously at Oceania, but now will get his chance to make his World Series debut here in Sydney.

"He's well known campaigner who has proven himself in Sevens with Tribes as well as club rugby with Warringah. I have no doubt that he will relish the opportunity and will not let us down."

Australia will open their campaign against the US Eagles on Friday night.


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