Skipper Sharni: Huge effort required in Amsterdam

  
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5/15/2014
By ARU Media Unit


Qantas Australian Women's Sevens captain Sharni Williams has one message for the team she leads: Only our best will be good enough in Amsterdam.

Australia trails New Zealand by two points heading into the last round of the 2013/14 IRB Sevens World Series, but with a vastly inferior points difference to its Trans-Tasman rivals, Tim Walsh's side will need to finish at least two spots ahead of the World Champions if they are to claim the country's first ever IRB World Series.

But Batlow-born Williams is conscious about the team getting too far ahead of itself.

"Of course we want to make the latter stages, but we first must focus on our pool. We are up against some great teams and I can assure you we won't be taking them lightly. We haven't seen South Africa in the World Series this season so it will be interesting to play them - they are a proud Rugby nation regardless of whether we are talking 15s or 7s, men's or women's."

Australia opens its campaign against France on Friday evening (AET) in Pool B, before taking on South Africa and Russia.

"At the start of the season our goal was to make the top four in the Series. So two victories in the first three tournaments was a great start. To meet our objectives so early is a massive achievement and show the commitment and effort the squad has given this year."

Williams, who along with Shannon Parry have provided the aggression up front all season, will take fond memories away from the series regardless of the result in Amsterdam.

"The series for us so far has been exciting and very rewarding. We’ve won two of the four tournaments and we have experienced some strange weather conditions along the way. Snow in Atlanta to the heat of Brazil a week later - which was also our first back to back tournaments on the IRB circuit! It’s been a very eventful series so far – and we’ve not even finished yet."

The Women's Sevens side has been boosted by the news that series top try and points scorer Emilee Cherry and Charlotte Caslick have been nominated for the prestigious IRB Women's Sevens World Series Player of the Year award.

Cherry told IRB.com that she was relishing this weekend's competition.

"It's going to be a huge challenge. But we want to test ourselves against the best. Walshy [Head Coach Tim Walsh] has stressed to us all season that winning one tournament is not enough. We need to be consistent and not drop off. We are desperate to finish as high as possible as we head towards Olympic qualification year."

Australian Women's Sevens fixtures in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 16-18 May:
Australia v France, Pool B, 8.20pm (EST), 16 May
Australia v South Africa, Pool B, 11.04pm (EST), 16 May
Australia v Russia, Pool B, 1.48am (EST), 17 May 

Current 2013/14 IRB Women's Sevens World Series standings (top 4): 1. New Zealand (76 points), 2. Australia (74), 3. Canada (64), 4. England (46), 4. Russia (46)