XVs World Cup a fairytale prospect for re-signed Sevens co-captains

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The carrot of a home Women’s Rugby World Cup is dangling in the minds of newly Aussie Sevens co-captains Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry.

Williams and Parry announced their re-signings with the Sevens program this week, taking them through to Tokyo and what would be their second Olympic campaigns.

Both came to Sevens via XVs and played in the 2014 and 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cups with the Wallaroos before returning to the Sevens program, collecting Olympic gold medals on the way.

Parry will be 30 when her new deal comes up and Williams will be 32, with the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup less than a year ago.

With Australia bidding to host that Women’s World Cup in the Newcastle-Hunter region, Williams said the tournament could almost be the perfect way to end a decorated career.

”I'm a rugby fan, rugby diehard player and it doesn't last forever so you want to be able to take those opportunities as they come and that opportunity is there and the carrot is dangling,” she said.

“If I can go and play at the 2020 olympics and then finish on home soil in 2021 it will be unreal, it'd be a dream come true and it'll be a story that I can go on and tell the next generation of what I was capable of doing and how they could get there as well.”

Parry was more circumspect but admitted the lure of a possible home World Cup campaign was in the back of her mind.

“If that comes up, I'll assess that situation when it comes but if we can get it at 2021, I'm sure Newcastle would be a fantastic way to finish my career if it ends there,” she sid.

“I’m definitely committed to Sevens and just going to enjoy this journey for the next two years.”

Williams said the move to play the tournament in a smaller centre could be a hugely positive decision for women’s rugby and the sport in general as it looks to build the connection between community and international rugby.

“The bid is amazing for 2021,” she said.

“We've started a pathway for the next generation to be able to play in the Super W, that's unreal.

“There was no competitions when I was growing up so for that next generation to have that exposure and play internationally but then to play in the Hunter - Newcastle, just the community up there is absolutely unreal.

“I think that's what we miss a little bit in rugby is being able to bring the community into the international stage.

“Community rugby around the Shute Shield and that is massive but to be able to try and bring it into that international stage and have it in the country is just going to be unreal.”

The Aussie Women's Sevens kick off their 2018-19 campaign in Colorado on October 20-21. The 2019 Sydney 7s runs from February 1-3 at Spotless Stadium. Buy tickets here.