Women front and centre a year out from Commonwealth Games

AAP
by AAP

Australian rugby is struggling but the code's golden girls - the women's sevens team - aren't fazed by the responsibility of their success.

The women's team captured the hearts of the nation on their way to winning the inaugural rugby sevens gold medal at last year's Rio Olympics.

Their success is in stark contrast to the men's game which is limping through an underwhelming Super Rugby campaign with uncertainty over the future of the Western Force amid a proposed shake-up to the competition.

The Australian Rugby Union is also battling reportedly skinny financial resources while the Wallabies have now gone almost 15 years without snaring the Bledisloe Cup from the all-conquering All Blacks.

Australia's reigning women's sevens player of the year Charlotte Caslick says there's no drama with her and her teammates having the responsibility of bringing some good news to the nation's rugby fans.

"We always get put up on a pedestal as the best-performing rugby team in Australia, which is great and that's always what we want to be," Caslick told AAP.

"We always want to be leading the way ... we take it as a challenge and we always want to be that team."

Eight months on from that breakthrough Olympic success, the women's team is now a year away from chasing another moment of history with women's sevens to feature at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 for the first time.

 

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Since sevens rugby made its Commonwealth Games debut in 1998, the men's team has yet to win a gold medal but Australia's women will be confident of ending that drought for the country.

Caslick says the team is coming back to reality after their Olympic success, a glory which has brought national fame to some players and a higher profile for the sport as a whole.

The 22-year-old says proving themselves on home soil against a Commonwealth competition which will feature rivals New Zealand as well as Canada and Fiji - who are all inside the current world top five along with Australia - is a challenge the team cannot wait for.

"If we did get to win at home it would be incredible and just to be a part of the atmosphere and an Australian crowd would be unreal," Caslick said.

"The competition's no less than any other tournament so I think, for our sport in particular, it's just as tough so we're pretty excited."

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