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South Africa head coach Neil Powell has picked Bryan Habana for the Las Vegas and Vancouver leg of the HSBC 7s World Series. With over 100 test caps, Habana is possibly the most decorated 15s star to make the switch to 7s in preparation for the Olympcis.
He may be joined by clubmate Quade Cooper, who will be with Australia in Las Vegas. Both were released from their duties with their professional 15s club, Toulon. Cooper was also released for Sydney 7s, but he was not selected by Aussie head coach Andy Friend.
"I want to see him play," Friend said. "He's got minimal opportunities to play, so we think given that we've had confirmation he's going to be released, ideally he would be available for selection for this next tournament.
"When he arrived last time the decision was made that he didn't have enough time to get himself in tune with the team. That decision was made for the benefit of him, but now given that he's been offered that release ... hopefully then we'll get him playing. He gets to Vegas the same day everyone else arrives."
Cooper is maybe the most recognizable Australian rugby player the world over. The same could be said for Habana of South African players. And New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams is arguably the most famous rugby player from anywhere on the planet. All three of them will be in Las Vegas, and it appears likely all of them will be displaying their skills inside Sam Boyd Stadium.
Liam Messam may also make his long-rumored return to the World Series in Sin City. He was added, along with Williams, to Gordon Tietjens' 14-man traveling squad for Las Vegas and Vancouver. The former All Black 7s captain and New Zealand 7s player of the year has been on a hiatus from the faster version of the game for several years, earning his stripes as a star in the 15s game, winning Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs and World Cup championships with the All Blacks.