Women hope Sydney Sevens is a dose of deja vu

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There are no Olympic medals up for grabs, but the Aussie Sevens women are hoping next week’s Sydney Sevens will be like Rio redux.

It won’t be the Aussies’ first outing in front of a home crowd - they played an exhibition series against Ireland as part of the men’s tournament last year - but with World Series points up for grabs and the tag of being Olympic gold medallists and reigning World Champions, the stakes will be higher than ever.

Coach Tim Walsh said their approach to being the hunted at Allianz Stadium would be much the same as it was in Rio last August.

“I think you probably can't get much more pressure than Rio and they handled that really well,” he said.

“I thought that was one of the massive differences to the other teams on why they went well but this is a different kind of pressure. - Tim Walsh

“Pressure is always what you make of it and for us...if we're not enjoying it, then we're not going to perform, we're going to get overawed by that pressure.”

Returning speedster Ellia Green said things had gone up a notch from the same time a year ago, their first chance to put themselves on the sporting map at home.

Ellia Green is set to return for the Sydney Sevens. “Being another leg on our World Series circuit is going to be huge and home crowd, having all the countries coming to us, it's going to be huge,” she said.

Sydney will be Green’s first tournament since the Olympics and the speedster is confident she’ll be 100 per cent for Sydney, her first competition since the Rio Olympics.

Back in contact training for a fortnight, Green is ahead of schedule in some aspects but she said that was no surprise.

“I've been known to recover from injury pretty quick because I have these Fijian bones that I've been blessed with that heal very well. - Ellia Green

“If there's a tournament that I would have loved to play the most, it would be Sydney Sevens, so it's a dream come true really.”

Green and Evania Pelite are the only changes to the squad from the team in Dubai, with Emma Tonegato ruled out after dislocating her elbow in training.

While Green took most of the headlines on Wednesday when the squad was announced, Walsh was quick to remind media of Pelite’s value.

Evania Pelite is stoked to be playing in the Sydney 7s. “Ellia is the fastest player in World Rugby for the women's side and ‘Vani’ is just one of the most talented athletes I've ever come across and she's really hungry and really keen to get out there,” he said.

“To have that experience and that talent out there just to bolster the team is a massive boost for the whole program.”

Walsh was hopeful Tonegato, one of the key cogs in their World Series and Olympic titles last year, would be back by the Las Vegas leg of the series in early March.

Fixture

Aussie Women's SevensDay One – Friday 3 February

Australia v Brazil - Pool B - 1.36pm (AEDT)

Australia v Ireland - Pool B - 4.18pm (AEDT)

Australia v Fiji - Pool B - 7.00pm (AEDT)

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