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By ARU Media Unit
Qantas Women’s Seven coach Chris Lane wants a more physical display from his side this weekend as they look to go one better on their second-place finish in Hong Kong last weekend.
The Qantas Women’s Sevens (ranked 2nd) face Japan (11th), Ireland (unranked) and Canada (7th) in pool play in Guangzhou, China, in the penultimate round of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series this weekend.
Lane said the Australians were outmuscled by Canada in the Cup final in Hong Kong and that he expected a more physical performance from his side this weekend.
“We certainly want to improve from that final against Canada in Hong Kong,” Lane said.
“I’m looking for a lot more physicality from the girls.”
With just two rounds left in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and Australia sitting in second place with 30 points, four points behind New Zealand, Lane knows how crucial this weekend’s event is.
“This tournament is very important,” Lane said.
“We obviously want to win the World Series and this would be a big step toward that.
“Winning the World Series would give us a big boost as we head to Moscow for the World Cup in June.”
But Lane isn’t getting ahead of himself as he knows how difficult Australia’s pool is.
“It’s tough, but that’s what we want,” Lane said.
“Everything we’ve been doing over the past 18 months has been aimed toward June.
“While we’ve been trying to win each tournament, we’re just trying to improve on each outing and the tougher the tournaments, the better we’ll be able to prepare.”
Australia and Japan have met three times over the course of the last year, with two wins to the Qantas Women’s Sevens.
Their first encounter was in pool play during the Asia Pacific Sevens last year, where Japan stunned the Australians 14-10. The Qantas Women’s Sevens were better for the encounter and overcame Japan 36-17 in the tournament final.
Their most recent match was a 31-12 win to Australia in Houston in February, but Lane knows nothing is certain in Sevens.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Japan,” Lane said.
“We’ve had mixed results against them in the past and we certainly can’t take them lightly.”
Canada and Australia have met four times in the last three years, with the North Americans holding the upper hand in the wins column.
Their first match was during the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup in Dubai in 2011, where Canada claimed a 14-7 win in pool play.
They got the better of the Australians again during the Challenge Cup event in London in 2012, with a 19-14 win in the third-place playoff.
The Australians managed to secure a win over the Canadians in Dubai in late 2012, in the first tournament of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, claiming a 14-10 win in the Cup quarter-final.
Their most recent match saw the Canadians shut the Australians out 29-0 in the Cup final in Hong Kong last weekend.
“Our results against Canada are skewed slightly in their favour,” Lane said.
“These are the sorts of games we need to play more of. This will be a very physical and very direct game and we need more of that.”
The Australians have no match experience against future Rugby World Cup Sevens pool opponents Ireland, but the women from the Emerald Isle have form on their side with their Six Nations 15s side claiming the 2013 6 Nations with a Grand Slam.
The bulk of the side for their first foray into the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series has been selected from that championship-winning team and Lane is looking forward to the chance to get to learn their style of play first hand.
“We’ve got Ireland in our World Cup pool and we know nothing about them, so it’s a great opportunity to play them in China,” Lane said.
“We’ll look to learn a lot about them, that will be good for our World Cup preparation.”
The Qantas Women’s Sevens kick off their pool with a clash against Japan at 2:38pm (AEST), before taking on Ireland at 4:50pm (AEST) and Canada at 7:32 (AEST) on Saturday 30 March.
Australian Women’s Sevens recent milestones
Reached 50 points for Australia in Hong Kong, currently on 54 overall (10T, 2C)
Australian Women’s Sevens upcoming milestones
Needs three points to reach 100 for Australia, currently on 97 (15T, 11C)
Needs five points to reach 100 for Australia, currently on 95 points (19T)
Needs 15 points to reach 200 for Australia, currently on 175 (35T)
Needs three points to reach 50 for Australia, currently on 47 (9T, 1C)
Qantas Women’s Sevens China squad
View the bios for the Qantas Women’s Sevens squad for China
Based (originally from)
Rebecca Tavo (C)
Brisbane, QLD (Port Hedland, WA)
Brisbane, QLD (Canberra, ACT)
Lane Cove, NSW
Brisbane, QLD (Toowoomba, QLD)
Toowoomba Bears, QLD
West Ryde, NSW
Perth, WA (Melbourne, VIC)
Sydney University, NSW
Brisbane, QLD, (Erina, NSW)
Brighton Le Sands, NSW
Southern Districts, NSW
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.