Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea did not miss! The Aussie women put on an extremely polished display against Japan, winning 66-0 in their second pool game. It…
While the Aussie sevens men kicked off their World Rugby Sevens Series season and title defence a couple of weeks ago with a historic win in Hong Kong, the women start their season this week.
Both the men and women hit the heat of Dubai tomorrow. This is the tournament where it all started for both teams last year. Both eventually took out their respective World Rugby Sevens Series titles.
For the women in particular, Dubai set the benchmark, setting up their season and their 2022 success as they took out both tournaments. In fact 12 of the players who played in the first Dubai tournament in November 2021 played in the World Cup ten months later in September 2022.
This week, 12 months later, those 12 players will again be running out in Dubai. As expected, Bienne Terita, who starred at the rugby 15s World Cup, returns to the sevens squad.
On the flip side only six of the men’s team running out this weekend were in the team 12 months ago.
For those who have been hiding under a rock over the last 12 months, the Aussie women’s sevens rugby team is the SAS regiment or Delta Force of the football codes in Australia. There are not enough superlatives. They are the cream of the crop, tip of the spear, edge of the knife. There may well be 18 AFLW teams and six NRLW teams, but when it comes to oval-ball footy codes, the Aussie sevens woman are the elite of the elite. You just need to hear head of performance Tom Carter speak to realise the sevens program is at another level.
In Top Gun parlance their the best of the best, which is probably an apt reference to Charlotte Caslick. She was honoured at the World Rugby Awards, where she was named women’s sevens player of the year for the second time. It’s worth noting too that Maddison Levi and Faith Nathan were also nominated.
Arguably the SAS or Delta Force moniker is quite apt, as they are also out of the spotlight and do not get the media coverage provided to the AFLW or NRLW.
In Wallabies parlance we often hark back to the mid to late 1990s through to the early 2000s as the golden years. But this rugby sevens team is a golden generation, and they are also a golden generation that has delivered in terms of the trophy cabinet as well.
If you have not seen them in action, make sure you do. There is even an opportunity to see them live early in 2023 when the World Sevens Series comes to Sydney
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be hunted in Dubai. The women are the current World Sevens Series title holders, but there is no doubt the Kiwis are after their title.
The men, after taking out the World Sevens Series last year and more recently the Hong Kong sevens, will have a big target on them. If the women are Delta Force, then the men who have been referred to as ‘misfits’ are probably the Dirty Dozen from the 1960s World War II movie.
This is a big year for both teams as the top four at the end of the series automatically qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024. In great news in the build-up to the Olympics, Rugby Australia is re-signing players. Recently Maddison Levi, Teagan Levi, Sariah Paki, Madison Ashby, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and Faith Nathan have all signed until 2024. This will hold at bay the NRLW teams who will be after most of these players.
In the men’s squad Dietrich Roache, Henry Hutchison, Josh Turner and Henry Paterson have also been recently re-signed.
So even though the Wallabies have finished for the season, keep up your rugby dosage with the World Rugby Dubai Sevens starting tomorrow.
Pool A: Australia, USA, Canada, China
Australia versus China – Friday at 4.22pm (AEDT)
Australia versus Canada – Friday 8.27pm (AEDT) Canada
Australia versus USA – Friday 11.35pm (AEDT)
Pool A: Australia, South Africa, Great Britain, Kenya
Australia versus Kenya – Friday 6.56pm (AEDT)
Australia versus Britain – Friday 10.42pm (AEDT)
Australia versus South Africa – Saturday 3.33am (AEDT)