du Toit to debut for Aussie Women's Sevens

by Staff Writer

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens young gun Dominique du Toit will make her HSBC World Series debut at the Atlanta Sevens next weekend (9-10 April).

The 18-year-old Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist also represented her country at last July's Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

The 12-strong squad chosen by Head Coach Tim Walsh to travel to the United States is also notable for three players returning to the World Series circuit after recovering from long-term injuries. Tiana Penitani and Chloe Dalton are back in the fold after knee and arm injuries respectively while ball player Brooke Walker returns following a leg injury.

Shannon Parry will continue to deputise as skipper in the absence of the injured Sharni Williams (knee). Gemma Etheridge (knee), Ellia Green (shoulder) and Brooke Anderson (leg) also miss out.

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "Dom [du Toit] is a player I believe has a big future in the game. Everyone enjoyed watching her pace in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing and she showed how much her game had evolved during the Comm Youth Games in Samoa last September, particularly her defensive side. She's an exciting prospect and one to keep an eye on.

"Even though we have shown character to win the two legs so far this season, it's fair to say we have faced challenges. We haven't had the luxury of having 12 fit players for a Finals Day yet so I'm hoping our luck changes on that front. That said, it just shows the quality in depth we need if we are to keep performing to the level we want during each tournament."

On the draw for Atlanta, Walsh added: "I've probably not seen a tougher World Series pool yet this season. England will likely try and unsettle us up front while Fiji have showed enough quality this season to suggest they are not far away from challenging at the business end of World Series tournaments. Colombia will present a different type of challenge given we know little about them so we'll have to be mentally prepared for that fixture."

Despite winning tournaments in Asia, Europe and South Africa since taking charge in September 2013, Walsh is yet to lead Australia to a Cup Final in North America. "Our record over there is not something we have discussed. For us, it's all about sticking to our principles and ensuring we have the right attitude to execute under pressure. The results will then take care of itself."

Australia currently lead the 2015-16 HSBC Women's World Series after two rounds (40 points), securing maximum points from the rounds in Dubai and Sao Paulo. New Zealand and Canada are tied for second spot (28 points).

Following the Atlanta Sevens, the series heads north to Langford in Canada before the season concludes in Clermont-Ferrand, France at the end of May.

Fans will be able to stream the action from Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw State University in Atlanta via worldrugby.org. FOX SPORTS will broadcast the Plate Final, 3rd Place Play-Off and Cup Final.

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens fixtures for the Atlanta Sevens at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, Atlanta, 9-10 April:

Australia v England, Pool A, 3.14am AEST

Australia v Colombia, Pool A, 5.58am AEST

Australia v Fiji, Pool A, 8.42am AEST

Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens squad for the Atlanta Sevens at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, Atlanta, 9-10 April:

1. Shannon Parry. Place of Birth: Brisbane, QLD

2. Tiana Penitani. Place of Birth: Canberra, ACT. Hometown: Maroubra, NSW

3. Dominique du Toit. Place of Birth: Maronderra, Zimbabwe. Hometown: Toowoomba, QLD

4. Brooke Walker. Place of Birth: Auckland, NZ. Hometown: Brisbane, QLD

5. Emma Tonegato. Place of Birth: Wollongong, NSW

6. Evania Pelite. Place of Birth: Brisbane, QLD

7. Charlotte Caslick. Place of Birth: Brisbane, QLD

8. Chloe Dalton. Place of Birth: Singapore. Hometown: Mona Vale, NSW

9. Amy Turner. Place of Birth: Tokoroa, NZ

10. Alicia Quirk. Place of Birth: Wagga Wagga, NSW

11. Emilee Cherry. Place of Birth: Roma, QLD. Hometown: Toowoomba, QLD

12. Mahalia Murphy. Place of Birth: Blacktown, NSW. Hometown: Sydney, NSW

 

13th player. Georgie Friedrichs. Place of Birth: Toowoomba, QLD

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