There’ll be more than just international bragging rights on the line when the Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team takes on Ireland on the HSBC Sydney 7s weekend.
Australia’s former Sevens general manager Anthony Eddy and ex-high performance director David Nucifora are now at the helm of the Irish Women’s Sevens.
The three-match series will be Australia’s first competitive hit out in 2016, in front of a sold out Allianz Stadium and Walsh said the high stakes of playing in front of a massive home crowd would be perfect preparation for the Olympics.
“The more perceived pressure we can put ourselves under will put us in good stead,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate to have it in Sydney where we train and to get the opportunity to play and show the crowd what Women's Sevens is all about.
“It’s great for us to have that opportunity to be out there and have some fun and not just a one-off game, but having three hit-outs through the day.”
With the second leg of the Women’s World Series just a fortnight after the Sydney series, the Aussies will be going in at full strength.
Injured duo Sharni Williams and Chloe Dalton will not feature in the matches, both slated to return for the Atlanta leg of the World Series in April.
The Aussie influence in the Irish camp has come through, with the Europeans taking on the speed-focused style that Australia has made their own.
“Anthony Eddy had a massive influence on setting up the Australian Sevens program at the ARU and we know the Irish from the World Series,” he said.
“There could be some similar styles in the play.
“We’re both entertaining teams, very skilful teams and hopefully it’s a good challenge.
“Hopefully we get a whitewash across the games but we’ll just take each game as it comes and hopefully the result will take care of itself.”
The positive for fans is that they’re guaranteed a free-flowing, fast-paced series of Sevens.
“They’re a really fast team and they're following the same sort of model that Anthony and Nuci set up here," Walsh said.
"They're finding athletes and trying to converting them into learning the game."
While the Australian women currently sit on top of the world rankings, Walsh said they wouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
“We can expect some of those players to come to the forefront of women’s rugby at some stage,” he said.
“We want to see them improve and challenge us as well.”
Match One - Saturday 6th February, Australian Women's Sevens vs Ireland, 1.56pm AEDT
Match Two - Sunday 7th February, Australian Women's Sevens vs Ireland, 11.18am AEDT
Match Three - Sunday 7th February, Australian Women's Sevens vs Ireland, 2.48pm AEDT