While much of the attention given to Australia’s Olympic 7s side will be directed at the men, it is the women’s squad that go into Rio 2016 in the better form. The side, led by captain Sharni Williams have dominated the Women’s Sevens Series circuit this year en route to the title.
Williams and her team-mates reached all but one of the season’s five Cup finals, winning three of them and look like the team to beat going into the tournament. According to some, it marks a changing of the guard of sorts with New Zealand failing to win a tournament all year.
Australia face Canada in the semi final in Rio later today, while New Zealand face Great Britain.
Undoubtedly, one of the stars to look out for is 21 year-old Emma Tonegato. The Wollongong native comes from a rugby league background but has plied her trade in 7s of late, scoring 50 World Series tries already. Expect her to bag a few more in Rio.
Head coach Tim Walsh certainly agrees: “Emma’s been at the top of the World Series try-scoring for three years and it’s worth reminding yourself what she is capable of,” he told Rugby World.
The men are once more led by Ed Jenkins and will aim to secure a first major tournament triumph since the Japan leg of the World Series in 2012.
Despite this, the Aussies do have some success with rugby in the Olympics, having won the gold medal in the 1908 Games, beating a Cornwall side representing Great Britain.
Australia Men’s first game:
Australia Men v France – 9th August (11:00 local)
Australia’s Olympic squads:
Men: Nick Malouf, Jesse Parahi, Henry Hutchison, Lewis Holland, James Stannard, Con Foley, Cameron Clark, Pat McCutcheon, Ed Jenkins, Allan Fa’alava’au, Tom Cusack.
Women: Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Nicole Beck, Gemma Etheridge, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Amy Turner, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Ellia Green.
Below is a feature on Men’s 7s skipper, Ed Jenkins