Australian Rugby Sevens legend Mark Ella has admitted that he is piling the pressure on his country's Women's side by saying he is "expecting nothing but success" at the XV Pacific Games, which kicks off in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on Wednesday.
Head Coach Tim Walsh will lead a side that features an exciting mix of players with World Series experience and talent looking to break into the Australian Sevens program with the Olympic Games in Rio just 13 months away.
The Aussies will play Fiji first up at the Sir John Guise Stadium, before clashes with New Caledonia and Tahiti on Day One. Australia will then play Tonga, Samoa and hosts Papua New Guinea on Day Two. Only the top two countries in the Women's Rugby Sevens competition will qualify for the Gold Medal match.
Noted pundits have made the Australia Women red-hot favourites for the Gold Medal at the Pacific Games, but Ella has warned against complacency.
"The Fijian’s traditionally love their football - it doesn’t matter who they are or where they are. It’s also going to be pretty tough against Papua New Guinea - I coached up there many, many years ago with my brother and they’re fairly competitive.
"Traditionally the island nations are very strong and very physical. We probably need to use our skill and our speed to get around them rather than to get too heavily involved in the contact form of the game. The Fijian girls will be there and they’ll want to beat us, that’s for sure.
"Can we win the Gold Medal? Oh without a doubt, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t win. So, I’m already putting the pressure on the girls. They’ve got a good coach, they’ve got a good set up, they’re building up to the Olympic games so I’m expecting nothing but success."
Ella has pinpointed Tanisha Stanton as the player he is most looking forward to seeing perform in Port Moresby.
"I'm looking forward to seeing all the girls but Tanisha Stanton did a bit of work with NITV and she’s a character. I’m part of the commentary team and it’s going to be great calling the Women's Sevens rather than the Men!"
In his role with NITV, Ella will commentate on the Pacific Games and can't wait for the big kick-off.
"It’s the first time Australia has entered into the competition. It’s great to be part of NITV which is obviously broadcasting live from Papua New Guinea. It’s going be a couple of weeks of really natural sporting events. It’s going to be colourful, it’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be noisy, loud, everything. And I’m just looking forward to it."
NITV will broadcast the Rugby Sevens from Papua New Guinea on free-to-air Channel 34 and Channel 144 on Foxtel with Australian Sevens legend Mark Ella the panel expert.
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens results in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 8-10 July:
Australia v Fiji, Pool Stage, 8 July, 12.00am AEST
Australia v New Caledonia, Pool Stage, 8 July, 3.18pm AEST
Australia v Tahiti, Pool Stage, 8 July, 6.36pm AEST
Australia v Tonga, Pool Stage, 9 July, 1.06pm AEST
Australia v Samoa, Pool Stage, 9 July, 4.24pm AEST
Australia v Papua New Guinea, 9 July, 7.42pm AEST
All Finals Matches, 10 July