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By ARU Media Unit
The Australian Youth Olympics Women’s Sevens management team of Tim Walsh and Scott Bowen has announced Brooke Anderson and Tiana Penitani as co-captains for the Women's Rugby Sevens team that will depart for Nanjing on 13 August.
The pair finalised their decision and informed the squad at the beginning of the fourth and final camp held at the Sydney Academy of Sport at Narrabeen late last month.
Women’s Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh, who has led the Youth Olympics program from the outset, will remain in Sydney to be present at the birth of his first child with Scott Bowen leading the team in Nanjing.
Bowen said: "In our first camp when the Youth Olympics squad got together, Tim Walsh and I sat down and we were very impressed with the way Brooke Anderson communicated with the team. She led through not only her actions but through her voice too.
"With Tiana, we always felt she was suited to that position. She's a confident girl, communicates extremely well and she is a great ambassador for Rugby Sevens. You don't always have someone playing every minute of every game so we saw it as an opportunity to spread the load between those two."
The Youth Olympics Rugby Sevens squad were given a unique opportunity to showcase its talents in front of 40,000 people at the Super Rugby Semi-Final at Allianz Stadium, an experience Bowen believes will stand the team in good stead.
"The girls have done well in the preparation camps. We've done what we needed to do. It was a great opportunity for them to play in front of a huge crowd at half-time of the Waratahs v Brumbies match and it was a good experience for them.”
Throughout the Youth Olympic camps at Narrabeen, lead coach Tim Walsh has left no stone unturned, tapping into the experience of the current Women’s Sevens national squad to ensure the team that heads to China are fully prepared.
Tim Walsh said: “In order to help prepare the team I invited current Australian Sevens captain Sharni Williams and Wallaroos XVs captain and Sevens player Shannon Parry to mentor the girls in the set piece area.
“IRB World Player of the Year Emilee Cherry was always at camps to mentor, coach, and at times train with the girls to show them how it is done and what it takes to be the best. It was very valuable and a great asset to me to have these girls contribute significantly in preparing the team."
Walsh added: “It has been a whole Sevens program effort to get the team ready and Scotty Bowen won’t leave anything to chance in Nanjing and will have the girls ready for Gold. I am to remain in Australia to be at the birth of hopefully a future Australian Sevens player!”
The Australian Youth Olympic squad gather for 'Champ Camp' on Tuesday, 12 August before being given an official send-off in Sydney by Ms Helen Brownlee OAM (President, Australian Olympic Committee) and Ms Susie O'Neill (Chef de Mission, 2014 Australian Youth Olympic Team) later that day. The squad depart Sydney for Nanjing the following morning at 10am.
The Rugby Sevens tournament in Nanjing begins on 17th August and Australia will be represented in the women’s event only. Scott Bowen's side will be up against Canada, USA, Tunisia, Spain and China.
The 2014 Australian Women’s Youth Olympic Rugby Sevens fixtures in Nanjing, China on 17-19 August 2014:
Australia v Tunisia (11am AEST, 17 August)
Australia v China (6pm AEST, 17 August)
Australia v USA (11am AEST, 18 August)
Australia v Spain (7pm AEST, 18 August)
Australia v Canada (Midday AEST, 19 August)
Medal Matches (from 7pm AEST, 19 August)
The 2014 Australian Women’s Youth Olympic Rugby Sevens team that will represent Australia in Nanjing:
Tiana Penitani - co-captain, 18 years old Matraville NSW
Brooke Anderson - co-captain, 18, Brighton Le Sands NSW
Marioulla Belessis, 17, Highgate Hill QLD
Shenae Ciesiolka, 16 (17 at Games), Westbrook QLD / Belmont NSW
Dominique Du Toit, 17, Highfields QLD
Kellie Gibson, 18, Ellenbrook WA
Tayla Stanford, 18, Bunyan, NSW
Raecene McGregor, 16, Yagoona NSW
Caitlin Moran, 17, Cardiff South NSW
Amber Pilley, 16, Tugun QLD
Mackenzie Sadler, 17, Kensington Park SA
Laura Waldie, 17, Camp Hill QLD
Over 500 young men and women had the opportunity to show off their skills and athleticism yesterday, as the Australian Rugby Union’s Search for a Star took place across the country looking to identify players who may have the potential to represent their country in Rugby Sevens.