Aussie women take clean sweep

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Australian Women’s Sevens team completed their clean sweep over Ireland on Sunday at the Sydney Sevens and coach Tim Walsh hopes it left a lasting impression on the Allianz Stadium crowd.

With no Australian leg of the Women’s World Series, their three-match series against Ireland was the only chance for them to play at home this year, ahead of the Rio Olympics.

A desperate Nicole Beck tackle in the in-goal area showed the 30,000 plus crowd exactly the tenacity in this Australian side on their way to three convincing victories.

“Every time they play in stadiums or on TV and people see them they go, ‘Wow I didn’t realise the girls could play like that’,” he said.

“They are world class athletes who train full time and they’re the best of the best. They train and they go and execute it.”

After taking the opening match against Ireland on Saturday, 26-7, the Aussies won 29-7 and 24-0 in the final two matches on Sunday.

Emma Tonegato and Ellia Green snagged doubles in the final game as the home team swept the series, and the side soaked up a lap of honour after the match.

Ellia Green makes a break against Ireland. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

With the team for Sao Paulo set to be decided this week, the series also meant a number of World Series spots were on the line in the series.

And Walsh said some of the women had pushed themselves into the frame for the Sao Paulo.

“Shenae Ciesiolka. She scored that wonderful try and showed some really good footwork but defensively as well,” he said.

“Mahalia Murphy showed some really good intent and looked dangerous with the ball.

“That’s the beauty of the squad at the moment is the depth that we’ve been able to build and if one player’s not available then another one can step in and do exactly the same job.”

As far as Olympic preparation goes, the packed-out stadium also provided a different lesson with communication difficult to master among the noise.

“It’s very rare that they play in such big stadiums,” he said.

“Whether it was they couldn’t hear, they were a little bit nervous or something like that but I think it looked lot more decisive and it allowed us to be more decisive with our play.

“The stadium at Rio holds 15-20,000 but I think it’ll be different kind of pressure.

“Certainly if it’s that loud having signals or different kind of calls we might have to adapt to (will help).

“Regardless that was more or less out of our comfort zone which is going to prepare us for an Olympic situation.”

The Australian women head to Sao Paulo on Monday February 15, for the second leg of their World Series from February 20-21.