Special Cherry steps back into spotlight

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s hard to believe that a World Sevens Player of the Year could go under the radar, but that’s almost the case with Australia’s Emilee Cherry this year.

Cherry’s six-try performance in last weekend’s Canada Sevens reminded onlookers of her world-class talents, though.

Cherry, the 2013-14 World Sevens Player of the Year, is topping the overall try tally for this year’s series and second on the all-time try scorers’ list and her Langford outing was her most influential of the season.

In the youthful Australian side fielded in Langford, Cherry’s influence was pivotal, especially in a third place playoff in which she scored a try and had the last pass in the try that secured the win.

Women’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh praised Cherry’s influence after the tournament.

“Emilee is a very special player, she’s a very important cog in this team,” he said.

“We have some world class players and an array of game breakers and defenders but Emilee offers so many things on and off the field.

“One of the reasons we kept her on for two weeks as well to lead and manage the younger players that did come in.”

While it was a standout weekend, it’s by no means an anomaly for Cherry, who is one of the steering influences in the world number one side.

“She’s done it so many times in the last three years,” Walsh said.

“So many times she’s made the play, she’s scored the try and done things that have turned matches.

“All the players make the team so it’s such a force.

“Having the likes of Charlotte Caslick, Alicia Quirk, Sharni Williams, Shannon Parry allows each of them to do their job and they do that and that allows individuals to perform at their best.

Cherry, speaking on the rugby.com.au podcast, praised the energy that the next generation was bringing to the squad ahead of August’s Rio Olympics.

“The young girls bring vibrancy and energy to the squad,” she said.

“It’s good having them pushing us and making us better as a squad.

“We know going into the Olympics that we can't just have those 12 players, we need a whole squad.