Walsh praises 'under the radar' Pelite

by Sam Phillips

Australian Women's Sevens coach Tim Walsh has showered his team with compliments after they breezed to a comfortable Cup win in Dubai.

Walsh was far from complimentary after the Aussies cruised to a clean sweep on day one but he couldn't have been happier with how they applied themselves on finals day.

"As everyone know day two is the finals day - it's the important day - and game across game, I thought the girls were exceptional," he said.

"Everyone binded together and put into practice what we have been working on over the last two months.

"We had a really good lead in to the tournament with Aon (Uni 7s), Central Coast and in Bendigo against New Zealand.Australia are the Dubai Sevens champions. Photo: World Rugby"We've been focused on what we were trying to achieve and peaking at the right time.

"It's so important to get that start to the season because it instills the players and coaches with belief - that winning feeling and that belief just grows."

Vani Pelite and Emma Tonegato were both named in the dream team for the tournament, with Tonegato best on ground in the final and Pelite crowned player of the tournament.

Pelite, in particular, received high praise from Walsh.

"Could not speak highly enough of Evania Pelite throughout this whole season, to be honest," Walsh said.

"She's always under the radar and has been for five years.


"The ability that she has is just incredible and she's not worried about media or attention or any of that sort of stuff.

"She goes about her business and it's incredible, how she performs."

Tonegato was one of the leading try scorers for the tournament and the Aussies have missed her innate ability to get over the line, having sat on the sidelines nursing a shoulder injury for the majority of the 2017 season.

But while Tonegato's try scoring talent immediately shines, Walsh said it wouldn't have been possible without the work of the women up front.

"Emma Tonegato has come back from a shoulder injury and she has been itching to get back out on the field," Walsh said.

"She just knows her way to the try line but all the grunt work was done up front.Shannon Parry did plenty of hard work up front. Photo: Getty Images"Shannon (Parry), Sharni (Williams), Vani (Pelite), over the ad line and then we have the world class players with Caslick, Emma Sykes really taking ownership of being a World Series player.

"Then of course Emilee Cherry and then there are the other players that are driving the team, too."

All eyes now turns to the Sydney Sevens, where Walsh's team will once again be the hunted.

"It just starts again," he said.

"We are on top of the table now and everyone will want to beat us.

"We can't get ahead of ourselves and we treat every opposition and every game with the utmost respect.

"We will celebrate the win, of course, but then get back home and train as hard as we can to attack Sydney in the best possible position to ensure we aren't walking off the field with any regrets."

Join the discussion

Advertisement