"Team-first" Parry helping next generation ahead of Sydney 7s: Williams

Womens - Sydney
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Injured Aussie Sevens co-captain Shannon Parry is doing everything she can to make her presence felt ahead of the side's home tournament, fellow skipper Sharni Williams says.

Parry was cruelly ruled out of this weekend's Sydney 7s after suffering a shoulder injury in training last week but Williams said the Olympian hadn't let the setback affect her.

It's been pretty tough bu Shannon is a person that really rallies around the team," she said.

"She's a team-first player and the way she has been able to rally around these girls and really get them up and have her experience to pass onto these girls is something that you see from her.

"People expect it but when you actually see it and are a part of it it's really nice to be around it."

Aussie Sevens captains Lewis Holland and Sharni Williams with their Kiwi counterparts. Photo: Getty ImagesParry's advice off the field will be immensely valuable for Australia's women, who have backed in a host of younger players to share the load in Sydney.

The co-captain joins fellow Rio gold medallists Charlotte Caslick (hand) and Emilee Cherry (pregnancy) on the sidelines, while Demi Hayes is also out of action with an ankle injury.

While there aren't any debutants in the squad, it is relatively fresh-faced compared to recent years and Williams said they backed the next generation to prove themselves on home soil.

"These girls have really stepped up, you saw them play in Dubai," she said.

"We were all very proud of to see some young girls step up like that.

"They've definitely got it in them, they've got the belief and they've got the trust of the team but of Johnny (coach John Manenti) as well and that's really important in the youngsters.

The Australians are the defending Sydney champions after going through the 2018 tournament without conceding a point but they'll have a tougher challenge this year with New Zealand dominating the last 12 months of Sevens, claiming the Commonwealth Games, the World Cup and both of the opening World Series legs

Williams said whatever the external expectations, the Aussies would be embracing another home tournament.

"You look at the highs of this, our home tournament, friends and family around watching, new location so it's a little bit different but just being acclimatised to this weather as well.

"There's so many positives for us to take forward and we don't need to look back, we just need to look forward and live in the now and go forward as a team."

The Sydney 7s kicks off on Friday February 1, running until Sunday February 3 at Spotless Stadium. Buy tickets here.