Rugby Sevens Tokyo OIympic Games 2020: Australia women's team and tournament preview

Wed, 28/07/2021, 06:50 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Australia faced off against Oceania at day three of the Oceania Sevens at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Australia's Women's Sevens team will be looking to back up their heroics from Rio as they push for back-to-back gold medals.

The side were one of the revelations of the 2016 Olympics, defeating New Zealand in the Final to claim gold in the inaugural edition of the seven-a-side format at the Games.

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However, they enter Tokyo as the 'hunted', with NZ joined by the likes of Canada and USA in trying to take their crown.

WHEN DO AUSTRALIA'S WOMEN SEVENS SIDE PLAY?

The Women's Sevens side have been drawn in Pool C and will kick off their tournament against host nation Japan on Thursday, July 29 at 11:30 am (AEST)

This will be followed in the evening by a clash with China, slated for 6:30 pm (AEST).

Their group stage matches will be rounded out against the USA on Friday, July 30 at 11:30 am

If they manage to finish in the top two or as one of the two highest-ranked third-place finishes, they will qualify for the quarter-finals.

A first-place group finish would likely set up a clash with Great Britain or Kenya whilst finishing second would likely mean a date with Canada or Fiji.

Meanwhile, finishing third would mean they would face the winners of Pool A or B, likely New Zealand or Fiji/Canada.

AUSTRALIA WOMEN'S SEVENS SCHEDULE

Pool C: Australia vs Japan, Thursday July 29 at 11:30 am (AEST)

Pool C: Australia vs China, Thursday July 29 at 6:30 pm (AEST)

Pool C: Australia vs USA , Friday July 30 at 11:30 am (AEST)

WHO IS IN AUSTRALIA WOMEN'S SEVENS OLYMPIC SQUAD?

  1. Shannon Parry
  2. Sharni Williams
  3. Faith Nathan
  4. Dominique Du Toit
  5. Emma Tonegato
  6. Evania Pelite
  7. Charlotte Caslick
  8. Madison Ashby
  9. Tia Hinds*
  10. Sariah Paki
  11. Demi Hayes
  12. Maddison Levi*
  13. Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea

*Denotes Sevens debutant

AUSTRALIA WOMEN'S SEVENS SQUAD PREVIEW

THE CO-CAPTAINS

Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams will both lead from the front as they attempt to guide Australia to back-to-back gold medals.

The pair have been a mainstay of Australian Rugby for over a decade and seem to rise to the big occassions, having played at World Cups across both formats of the game.

If Australia wants to repeat the effort, it'll be crucial Parry and Williams can could a relatively inexperienced side around the park and combat the pressures that comes with being defending champions

THE X-FACTOR

Charlotte Caslick will once again be intergral to their chances as the 26-year-old continues to go from strength to strength.

No matter the code, Caslick torches defenders with ball in hand and looms as the key playmaker for this side.

With regular partner in crime Ellia Green narrowly missing out on selection, it'll be up to Caslick to help spark this side and galvinse the younger players coming through the side.

THE YOUNG GUNS

There will be three out of the 13-women squad that will make their debut in the Sevens format at the Games, however, each come with major hype surrounding their ability.

The list is headlined by Maddison Levi, with the cross-code superstar putting her AFLW dreams on hold to chase gold across the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup.

She is joined as debutants by fellow 19-year-old and star of the future Tia Hinds and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, who was added as the 13th player.

Oceania Women's Sevens Day 3: Australia vs New Zealand

WHO DO AUSTRALIA WOMEN'S SEVENS PLAY IN THE GROUP STAGES?

USA

Rio 2016: Fifth (Defeated by NZ in QF)

Tokyo seeding: Fourth

Last time we played: Australia 19-14 USA (Hamilton 2020)

Australia resumes hostilities with the USA as the two nations look likely to battle it out for top spot in the group.

The gold-medalists claimed top in 2016, however, the US will maintain bragging rights since they were the only team they didn't manage to defeat, holding them to a 12-all draw.

Co-captains Abby Gustaitis and Kris Thomas will be looking to make a statement as they attempt to build off their World Series win at Glendale over 12 months ago.

JAPAN

Rio 2016: 10th

Tokyo seeding: 10th

Last time we played: Australia 27-0 Japan (2017, Dubai)

Japan enter the tournament eager to impress in their home Olympics.

Australia will be looking to continue their recent dominance over the Sakura Sevens, having not conceded a point in their last three mettings.

Young gun Rinka Matsuda will be looking to breakout as the 19-year-old bursts onto the Olympic scene.

CHINA

Rio 2016: DNQ

Tokyo seeding: 9th

Last time we played: Australia 47-0 China

In their first Olympics, China will be looking to put on a show as they continue their development towards being a core side on the Sevens circuit.

Coached by Sean Horan, who led New Zealand to silver, they qualified through the Asian Qualifying Tournament, conceding just two tries whilst scoring over 200 tries in just five games.

Chen Keyi looms as the main threat, having scored nine of those tries during the Qualifying tournament.

WHO ARE THE MAIN CONTENDERS FOR GOLD AT THE TOKYO OLYMPICS WOMEN'S RUGBY SEVENS?

Whilst Australia and the USA are expected to be two of the main contenders for the medals at the Tokyo Olympic Rugby Sevens, there are plenty of nations pushing for contention.

NEW ZEALAND

Rio 2016: Silver (defeated by Australia in Final)

Tokyo seeding: 1st

Last time we played: New Zealand 26 - 5 Australia (Oceania Sevens, June)

New Zealand have won gold at every major tournament except one: The Olympics.

The Black Ferns Sevens will be gunning for that gold after being defeated by the Aussies and enter as the deserving favourites.

Portia Woodman remains their key, who has proved dominant across multiple codes and formats, the only player to win Player of the Year across the 7's and 15's format.

CANADA

Rio 2016: Bronze (Loss to Australia, beat GB)

Tokyo seeding: 2nd

Last time we played: Canada 34-0 Australia

Whilst not a traditionally rugby powerhouse, Canada are a real threat towards taking out gold after winning bronze in 2016, pushing Australia in the semi-finals.

Since 2016, they have enjoyed a recent spree of dominance over Australia winning their last three encounters, including a thumping 34-0 win in the semi-finals of the Sydney Sevens.

With the likes of Charity Williams and Bianca Farella leading their attack, they will be a difficult team to beat.

GREAT BRITAIN

Rio 2016: Fourth (Loss to NZ & Canada)

Tokyo seeding: Seventh

Last time we played: N/A

Great Britain will once again be a force as they look for their first Olympic medal.

Scott Forrest has named a strong side, taking advantage of the unique nature of GB in selecting players from across England, Wales and Scotland.

Jasmine Joyce is one of three to return for her second Games as the Welshwoman pushes for that illustrious medal

FRANCE

Rio 2016: Sixth (QF loss to Canada)

Tokyo seeding: Fifth

Last time we played: France 19-14 Australia (New Zealand, 2020)

Another team that comes into Tokyo with winning form against Australia, they will be keen to build off their disappointing sixth in 2016.

France had a strong finish to the 2020 season, finishing in fourth and look set to be the darkhorse of the event.

Séraphine Okemba remains a major threat, having scored 15 tries in the 2020 tournament.

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