Playmaker Brooke Walker is in line for her World Series debut after Qantas Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach named her in his squad for the Atlanta Sevens next week.
Walker is the one change to the squad that finished runners-up at the Brazil Sevens in Sao Paulo last month. The 19-year-old joined the national Sevens program as a contracted player at the start of 2015 and is eligible for selection after being granted her Australian citizenship last Friday in Sydney.
With Walker's inclusion the only change to the squad, the average age of the 12 players that will play at the Fifth-Third Bank Stadium is just 22.
Nicole Beck (shoulder), Brooke Anderson (shoulder), Rachel Crothers (shoulder), Taleena Simon (leg) and Gemma Etheridge (ankle) are all unavailable through injury.
Head Coach Tim Walsh said: “Brooke is a fantastic distributor of the ball, she plays with so much time and has a smart Rugby brain. She is a great defender too and will complement working with the likes of Caslick and Quirk. Her selection gives us a little more depth in that area.
“I honestly don't think we’re far away from winning a tournament. In my opinion, we have been the best team but we lacked a bit of composure to win those games. You look at the stats and we’re the top points scorers, dominating ball, turnovers and we’re pretty disciplined. I’m proud of how the girls performed in that last tournament but we just lacked that touch of composure. It’s that rub of the green too – one decision goes one way, the bounce of the ball goes another way and you’re right on the back foot. We haven’t had any luck in those last two tournaments and I believe it will turn as long as we prepare well and remain positive.
"It’s not just about New Zealand though. The competition is such a high standard. Canada, France, England, Fiji... We have a tough pool in Atlanta, no doubt about that. The French are predictably unpredictable! In that last tournament, they were well beaten by New Zealand on Day One and very nearly beat them the next day – that’s Rugby Sevens for you! If Fiji is on their game, they’ll be a real battle for us. We don’t take anyone lightly and we’ll be focussing all our attention on that pool first and foremost."
Australia sits second in the 2014/15 Women’s Sevens World Series standings after finishing runners-up to New Zealand in both the Dubai and Sao Paulo legs so far this season.
Broadcaster FOX SPORTS last week confirmed they will show Finals Day LIVE on Foxtel Channel 501. Fans can watch both days play LIVE via www.worldrugby.org/womens-sevens-series/
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens fixtures for Atlanta, USA on 15-16 March (AEDT):
Australia v Fiji, Pool B, 3.00am (AEDT), 15 March
Australia v Spain, Pool B, 5.44am (AEDT), 15 March
Australia v France, Pool B, 8.28am (AEDT), 15 March
Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens squad for the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series in Atlanta, USA:
Charlotte Caslick. Place of Birth: Brisbane, QLD
Emilee Cherry. Place of Birth: Roma, QLD. Hometown: Toowoomba, QLD
Chloe Dalton. Place of Birth: Sydney, NSW
Ellia Green. Place of Birth: Suva, Fiji. Hometown: Melbourne, VIC
Shannon Parry. Place of Birth: Brisbane, QLD
Evania Pelite. Place of Birth: Brisbane, QLD
Tiana Penitani. Place of Birth: Canberra, ACT. Hometown: Maroubra, NSW
Alicia Quirk. Place of Birth: Wagga Wagga, NSW
Emma Tonegato. Place of Birth: Wollongong, NSW
Amy Turner. Place of Birth: Tokoroa, New Zealand. Hometown: Brisbane, QLD
Brooke Walker. Hometown: Brisbane, QLD
Sharni Williams. Place of Birth: Batlow, NSW. Hometown: Canberra, ACT
13th player: Tanisha Stanton. Place of Birth: Dubbo, NSW. Hometown: Newcastle, NSW