You are here
Zack Test suffered a severe ankle sprain in the Cup Quarterfinal against Australia Sunday in Glasgow, which kept him on the sideline for the duration of the tournament. It will most likely also keep him out of the World Series finale in London this weekend.
“I’m not going to take any risks, because we’ve got a big tournament in four or five weeks,” said head coach Mike Friday.
“It’s immensely sore, and he’s walking, but he’s not putting a lot of weight through it. We possibly could strap it up and we possibly could push him out there, but there’s no need, no requirement to and there’s a bigger picture at play here. We need to make sure everybody’s fit and competing at that Olympic camp, so we’ve got the best opportunity of putting the best 12 out for qualification.”
Called in to cover for Test is Thretton Palamo, who is local as a member of Saracens. Friday considered Chris Wyles, and he could have exercised Regulation 9 to pull him or Blaine Scully or another pro in for this weekend’s tournament, but with both Saracens and Leicester having meaningful games to play, it made sense to let them be available for their pro clubs. Palamo, on the other hand, hasn’t factored into Saracens’ Premiership selections.
Palamo is a 7s veteran, but he hasn’t appeared on the World Series since the Al Caravelli era – 2010 to be precise. He’s a capable player, but like anyone switching from 15s to 7s on short notice, fitness is going to be a question mark. He didn’t join the team until Wednesday, either, and it’ll be his first time working with Friday. All that means Palamo will likely be scarcely used, if at all.
“I’ve been in contact with Sarries all season, so he’s known to me and I know of him,” said Friday of Palamo.
“Interested to see how Thretton adapts to what we do and how he copes. I know he’s from a Premiership environment, but it’s very different. By all accounts his characteristics, his traits in his character, is what will suit our environment, but nonetheless the stress levels and what will be required of him means that if he plays with us he’ll be an impact player.”
With Friday and his staff wavering on the availability of Test deep into the week, and the tricky logistics of getting a player from the United States to London in time to be ready for the weekend, it didn’t make sense to fly over someone who participated in the latest high performance camp, from which Friday selects his squad.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, when you look at the big picture. After the Series, there will be some recovery time, and then Friday will pull in anyone he thinks might be able to help the team win the NACRA Championship and qualify for the Olympics in June, potentially including guys like Wyles and Scully. This next handful of days provides Palamo, an extremely talented player by anyone’s measure, a chance to impress Friday and earn an invite to that pre-Olympic camp.