Australia Women name Rugby World Cup 7s winner Nicole Beck for the Women's World Sevens Series tournament in China as the Ozzies look to stretch their lead at the top of the standings
Kirby Sefo and Nicole Beck are set to make their IRB Women’s Sevens World Series debuts after being named in Australia’s squad for the penultimate leg in Guangzhou, China, on 5-6 April.
Beck is certainly no stranger to the Australian jersey, she was part of the Wallaroos side that won the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens title in 2009 and a year later helped Australia finish third at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010.
Gemma Etheridge is also included for the first time since February 2013 after recovering from an injury to her ACL, but Saofaiga Saemo, Tiana Penitani, Brooke Anderson, Nikki Etheridge and Evania Pelite are all still sidelined with injury.
“Gemma has only been back in full training with the squad for two weeks and she hasn’t missed a beat. She has already made an impression on the squad and has slotted right back in,” admitted coach Tim Walsh.
“Kirby will bring an abrasive edge to our play. She is very athletic and is very good at dominating around the ruck area. As for Nicole, she has already figured in the World Cup in 2009 and is an intelligent player with great awareness. She is an extremely competitive girl and a good decision-maker
England a tough proposition
Australia currently share top spot in the standings with New Zealand on 56 points – six points clear of Canada – after winning two of the three rounds in the 2013/14 Series, the most recent in Sao Paulo in mid-February.
Walsh, though, insists his team haven’t been resting on their laurels in the intervening five weeks.
“We’ve been working hard on our core skills such as our ball possession while maintaining our conditioning and fitness. We have a real desire to win this one.”
Australia will face Ireland, Fiji and England in Pool B at the Guangzhou University Town Stadium.
“We’re obviously expecting New Zealand and Canada to be up there once again. But I think England will be a tough proposition as they will have their Fifteens players back in the fold following the Six Nations.
“The English can be really competitive and the same goes for Ireland. We’ll have to be at our best to top the pool.”
Australian Women's Sevens squad
Shannon Parry, Nicole Beck, Emilee Cherry, Gemma Etheridge, Rachel Crothers, Amy Turner, Cobie Jane Morgan, Alicia Quirk, Emma Tonegato, Charlotte Caslick, Kirby Sefo, Sharni Williams (captain).