* required fields
By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Women’s Sevens side will look to rebound from their third place finish in the Dubai Sevens tournament last December when they head to Hong Kong next week for the second IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup.
Australia are seeded third behind Canada and England for the two-day Hong Kong tournament, which runs from March 23 to 24, and have been named as the first-ranked side in Pool C alongside Netherlands and hosts Hong Kong.
Since the Dubai tournament the squad has been working hard on the training pitch to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running in a fortnights time.
While the Dubai tournament last December was the last time the Qantas Women’s Sevens side competed, members of the squad haven’t been without match practice with a number of the Women stepping out with the Australian domestic side, the Aussie Pearls, in Darwin for the World’s Hottest 7s.
Qantas Women’s Sevens coach, Chris Lane, knows that regardless of the training and match practice in Darwin, the Hong Kong tournament will be the true test to see just how much the side has progressed since Dubai.
“Every time we step out as the Qantas Women’s Sevens side I’m looking for continued improvement,” Lane said.
“We’ve worked hard since Dubai but we’re still learning how we want to play the game; we’re still learning our strengths and who we are as a team.
“I’m just looking for them to get in and have a real go.
“These tournaments are key to developing the side.”
Lane has named three changes to his side that fell just short of advancing to the Cup final in Dubai after suffering a heartbreaking 12-10 loss to England before going on to defeat USA 22-5 in the third-fourth playoff.
Sevens World Cup winner Tricia Brown returns to the side after missing Dubai due to an eye injury, while Shontelle Stowers and Emma Gillogly are set to make their debut for the Qantas Women’s Sevens.
“It’s great to have Tricia Brown back in the side,” Lane said.
“She’s a very experienced player and a very accurate kicker and you can’t underestimate how important restarts and goal kicking are in Sevens.
“Shontelle Stowers would have pushed for Dubai selection if she wasn’t injured and Emma Gillogly has showed a serious work rate in vying for selection.
“The results and improvement she’s shown us have warranted her selection. She’s fairly new to the game, but she’s been working very hard and proved she deserves an opportunity.”
Nine players remain from the third-place finish in Dubai and the side consists of five members of the Australian side that won the 2009 Sevens World Cup in Dubai, with Brown, Bo De La Cruz, Alex Hargreaves, Debby Hodgkinson and Captain Rebecca Tavo all making the trip to Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament features 12 teams and is held in conjunction with the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series. The women’s event runs over two days, March 23 to 24, and will see four of its matches played at HSBC Sevens World Series venue Hong Kong Stadium.
The Qantas Women’s Sevens will assemble at the Australian Institute of Sport for a five-day camp starting 16 March, before travelling to Hong Kong for the tournament. The women will then head north in May for tournaments in London and the Netherlands, before taking a break in preparation for the launch of the inaugural IRB-sanctioned women’s sevens 2012-2013 world series.
Squad for Hong Kong
Hong Kong IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup Pools