Australia women welcome back captain Tavo
Australia Women's Sevens coach Chris Lane has welcomed back two players from injury, while introducing two high school students to his squad for round three of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series in Guangzhou, China on 30-31 March.
Lane has made four changes to his side that finished third in Houston, with Rebecca Tavo the most notable as she returns from injury to captain the side once again.
Emilee Cherry will also return to the side for the first time since Dubai, overcoming a training injury which kept her out of contention for the Houston Sevens.
“They are two world-class players,” Lane said.
“It was a good experience to go to Houston without them and build depth, but their return adds a lot of experience and a lot of ability to the team.”
The tour will see two new caps added to the Australian Sevens ranks, with Tiana Penitani and Brooke Anderson being named to the side following injuries to Houston squad members d’Arcy Sadler and Gemma Etheridge.
Anderson and Penitani are no strangers to international Sevens, having already won a Gold medal as members of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival team which defeated China 40-0 in the final earlier this year.
“These young girls haven’t just come out of the blue,” added Lane. “They’ve been involved with different Australian Rugby Union programs since July last year and have gone through several development camps and the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
“They, like all members of the team, excelled at the Youth Olympics and they’ve earned this opportunity.
“It says a lot about the work that’s been done behind the scenes with talent identification and youth development, it’s created a lot of depth.”
Currently ranked second in the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Lane is using the non-IRB sanctioned Hong Kong Sevens as a further development tool before they head to China for the penultimate round of the World Series.
“We’ve learnt over the past few tournaments that our performances reflect our preparation so I’m just really expecting a strong preparation from the girls.
“There’s a few areas of our game that we still need to bring up to an international standard so we’re just continuing to build toward the World Cup.”
In Guangzhou, Australia are set to meet Canada, Japan and Ireland in pool play.
Australia Women's Sevens squad for China: Rebecca Tavo (c), Emilee Cherry, Nikki Etheridge, Sharni Williams, Shontelle Stowers, Amy Turner, Cobie Jane-Morgan, Brooke Anderson *, Ellia Green, Tiana Penitani*, Jess Palmer, Iliseva Batibasaga