Aussie women feeling Olympic buzz

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They’ve already got one World Series win under their belts and the Australian Women’s Sevens team are starting to feel the Olympic buzz.

Since winning the first leg of the 2015-16 World Series, stand-in captain Shannon Parry said she felt people were starting to take notice.

“We won one tournament in Dubai and it’s sort of got rolling on from there,” she said.

“People in my street go, ‘Oh are you the girls who play Sevens?’ because they see our uniforms hanging up on the clothesline every afternoon.

“So it’s growing and the more momentum we can get with that and on home soil at Allianz Stadium packed house what a perfect opportunity.”

The side has the perfect opportunity to impress local fans as part fo their three-match series against ireland during this weekend’s HSBC Sydney Sevens.

With no Australian leg on the Women’s World Series, it’s a rare opportunity for them to play in front of a home crowd and, as significantly, their friends and families.

Australia and Ireland competed in an opposed session on Thursday and both sides are looking forward to their first competitive hit-out since December’s Dubai leg.

Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall said they were learning plenty of valuable lessons from the Aussies.

Promoted into the World Series at the start of this season, Mulhall said any experience they could get would be critical going forward.

“Training  against each other it’s one level but training against another team,especially Australia, it’s massive,” she said.

“We’re a very young team and we’re quite inexperienced in regards to World Series caps and things so it’s great to play against girls with such experience as the Australians have.”

Australian coach Tim Walsh said the matches would provide the chance for some fringe players to push themselves into the frame for the second World Series leg in Sao Paulo, the side for which will be named next week.

“There are certainly opportunities there to push for selection so you’ll see, the whole Australian squad, aside from the injured girls, out there to show their wares,” he said.

With two months in between their World series legs, Walsh said the series was a welcome hitout.

“That’s the challenge with the women’s game is the amount of tournaments and preparing,” he said.

“I think that probably from Dubai to now is a pretty big gap and to keep training and training and training, it’s so good to have them get out there and play and in such a special event, it’s great for us.”