Skipper and students combine for Sevens World Series13 March 2013
RUGBY SEVENS: Women’s Sevens coach Chris Lane has welcomed back two players from injury, while introducing two high school students to the national team, with the naming of his squad for tournaments in Hong Kong and China.
In all, Lane has made four changes to his side that finished third in Houston, with Rebecca Tavo headlining the changes as she returns from injury to captain the side once again.
Emilee Cherry will also return to the side for the first time since Dubai, overcoming a training injury which kept her out of contention for the Houston Sevens.
While Lane was happy to give other players opportunities in their absence, he said it was great to welcome Cherry and Tavo back.
“They are two world class players,” Lane said.
“It was a good experience to go to Houston without them and build depth, but their return adds a lot of experience and a lot of ability to the team.”
The tour will see two new caps added to the Australian Sevens ranks, with Sydney high school students Tiana Penitani and Brooke Anderson being named to the side following injuries to Houston squad members d’Arcy Sadler and Gemma Etheridge.
Anderson and Penitani are no strangers to international Sevens, having already won a Gold medal as members of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival team which defeated China 40-0 in the AYOF Rugby Sevens Gold-medal match in Sydney earlier this year.
“These young girls haven’t just come out of the blue,” Lane said.
“They’ve been involved with different Australian Rugby Union programs since July last year and have gone through several development camps and the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
“They, like all members of the team, excelled at the Youth Olympics and they’ve earned this opportunity.
“It says a lot about the work that’s been done behind the scenes with talent identification and youth development, it’s created a lot of depth.”
Currently ranked second in the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Lane is using the non-IRB sanctioned Hong Kong Sevens as a further development tool before they head to China for the penultimate round of the World Series.
“We’ve learnt over the past few tournaments that our performances reflect our preparation so I’m just really expecting a strong preparation from the girls,” Lane said.
“There’s a few areas of our game that we still need to bring up to an international standard so we’re just continuing to build toward the World Cup.”
The Hong Kong Sevens features 12 teams competing over one day, with Australia set to meet Kazakhstan and an international invitational team in pool play.
Australia has been seeded first in Pool B for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series event in China, where they will meet Canada, Japan and Ireland in pool play.
The Women’s Sevens Team will contest the Hong Kong Sevens on Friday 22 March before traveling to Guangzhou, China, for the third round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series being held 30-31 March.
Qantas Women’s Sevens Hong Kong/China squad
1 Rebecca Tavo (C)
2 Emilee Cherry
3 Nikki Etheridge
4 Sharni Williams
5 Shontelle Stowers
6 Amy Turner
7 Cobie-Jane Morgan
8 Brooke Anderson (debut)
9 Ellia Green
10 Tiana Penitani (debut)
11 Jess Palmer
12 Iliseva Batibasaga
Australian Rugby Union