Sevens captain out of Sao Paulo

by Staff Writer

The Australian Women’s Sevens team will be without captain Sharni Williams for the Sao Paulo series next month.

Williams injured her knee in the opening round of the Women’s series in Dubai, missing finals day, undergoing surgery on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old will be out for 8-12 weeks, joining Chloe Dalton (broken arm) in missing the Brazil tournament.

Both have opted for surgery in a bid to be at peak fitness for the Rio Olympics, the culmination of a critical year.

Shannon Parry replaced Williams as captain in Dubai and women’s coach Tim Walsh has previously expressed his confidence in the squad’s fringe players to step into any void.

In a boost for the women, an extra leg has been added to this year’s World Series, with World Rugby announcing the addition of Clermont-Ferrand to the tour.

Originally whittled down to just four tournaments from six in 2015, the announcement is a welcome one for Australia, Walsh said.

“It was awesome to have six tournaments last year and initially to go down to four was a bit disappointing,” he said.

“To get a fifth one in there in such an important year where teams are trying to peak at the right times (is great),” he said.

“It’s a very welcome added tournament and great to see a new location, in France.”

With the tournament to be held in May, as the final World Series round, sides will have more opportunity to hone their skills for the Olympics.

“To get that elite competition is really important,” Walsh said.

“If the competition wasn’t there, we’d be spending money and searching elsewhere to try and get the right preparation.

“It’s very important for the game, let alone us and every other team competing.

“As a sport we need to be moving forward and adding tournaments and making a series of as high a quality as possible.”

Australia will have the chance to see their Women’s team live in Sydney, at the Sydney Sevens in February.

The Aussie women will play Ireland in a three-match series as part of the two-day tournament - the only time they will play at home this year.

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