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Australian Women's Sevens Rugby World Cup Sevens preview

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By ARU Media Unit

Australian Women’s Sevens coach Chris Lane and his team are ready for the challenge of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, after arriving in Moscow, Russia, earlier this week.

The Women’s tournament runs 29-30 June at Moscow’s Big Sports Arena in the Luzhniki Olympic Complex, with Australia taking on China in their opening game.
They then face Ireland and South Africa in what is a strong pool draw. Day two features the knockout stages of the tournament.
The Australian Women are looking to defend their crown as World Champions, having beaten New Zealand 15-10 to win the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai.
The Women’s squad sees a mixture of youth and experience.
“This is almost a completely new squad to that which won it in 2009,” Lane said.
“We’ve been focussed on this tournament for 18 months and we’ve put a squad together that we believe will be competitive.
“Everything over the past 18 months has been aimed at this tournament and we’ve seen our experienced players put their hands up and this new generation of players grab the opportunity that’s been given to them.”
Canberra’s Sharni Williams will captain the side in Moscow and is joined by fellow experienced campaigners Iliseva Batibasaga, Shannon Parry, Shontelle Stowers and Rebecca Tavo.
Two rising stars, Tiana Penitani and Charlotte Caslick, helped Australia win gold at the Youth Olympic Festival earlier this year. At 17 years and 163 days old when the tournament kicks off, Penitani will be Australia's youngest-ever representative of either a 15s or Sevens Rugby World Cup.
Williams was a member of Australia’s 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in the 15-a-side form of the game and has three seasons of Sevens experience, captaining the side in Houston and London earlier this year.
Tavo is the only member of the 12-strong squad to feature in Australia’s winning Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign in 2009. This is her fifth year with the Australian Women’s Sevens, the last two of which she had been the regular captain, until injury saw her sidelined from December to March last year. 
Australia has met South Africa only once, in the quarter final of the Cup in Houston in February. South Africa won the encounter 17-12.
Ireland and Australia have met twice in the World Series last season, both times in China. The Australians won in their pool game 12-7, to then be narrowly beaten in the Plate semi-final 14-15.
Australia and China are yet to meet as part of the series.
“We’ve played China before, but that was a long time ago. Ireland are new to Sevens but we’re 1-1 with them in terms of results,” Lane said.
“South Africa have improved massively over the last 18 months. It’s going to be a tough pool to get out of.
“This is no different to any other international Sevens tournament, we’ve still got to go out and play our best six games of footy, there’s just a lot more at stake.
“I’m happy with the squad we’ve selected and I know if we’re able to bring our best performances to this tournament then we’ll be right in the mix for the big games on day two.”
Australia finished the IRB Sevens World Series ranked fifth overall, highest in their World Cup pool, followed by South Africa in eighth and Ireland in tenth and China in 13th place.
The Australian Women’s Sevens face China at 3:44pm (AEST) on Saturday 29 June, followed by Ireland at 6:40pm (AEST) and South Africa at 12:54am (AEST) on Sunday 30 June. All three matches will be streamed live at The final day of the tournament will be streamed live on and broadcast live on Fox Sports 3HD.
Australian Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cup Sevens squad
Iliseva Batibasaga
Sydney University, NSW
Sydney, NSW
Katrina Barker
Warringah, NSW
Perth, WA
Charlotte Caslick
Wests,  QLD
Brisbane, QLD
Emilee Cherry
Toowoomba Bears, QLD
Toowoomba, QLD
Nikki Etheridge
Toowoomba Bears, QLD
Toowoomba, QLD
Shannon Parry
Redlands, QLD
Brisbane, QLD
Tiana Penitani
Maroubra, NSW
Matraville, NSW
Saofaiga Saemo
Power House, VIC
Melbourne, VIC
Shontelle Stowers
Warringah, NSW
Sydney, NSW
Rebecca Tavo
Brothers, QLD
Port Hedland, WA
Amy Turner
Mount Isa, QLD
Sharni Williams (c)
Canberra Royals, ACT
Batlow, NSW
Australian Women’s Sevens Rugby World Cup Sevens staff
Chris Lane
Head coach
Scott Bowen
Tim Walsh
Assistant coach
Jarrod Presland
Strength and conditioning coach
Laura Schwab


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