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California Dreamin’: Next up LA Sevens, and it's turnaround time for Aussie teams

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1st March, 2024
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The fifth round of World Rugby’s SVNS Series is on in Los Angeles over the weekend and there are some seriously hard games for both Aussie teams to kick off the tournament.

The Aussie women face Ireland on Saturday at 11.30am AEDT, then at 3.22pm AEDT the men face the Kiwis.

Both teams will be looking for a turnaround from last weekend’s, let us just say, lower than expected results in Vancouver.

The men experienced the short trip from the penthouse to the outhouse. They made the finals in Cape Town and Perth, then came 10th in Vancouver. The same squad has been selected, and still no Michael Hooper.

With the two tournaments only being a week apart the starting lineups in Vancouver seem to have been juggled more than usual. The men’s pool is a pool of ‘something’ – New Zealand, USA and Samoa. Nothing better than having to play the home side in their home tournament.

Hopefully we will see Ben Dowling play this weekend. He did not get a run in Vancouver and has become a much-improved play maker, which is also needed with Maurice Longbottom out injured. No doubt Henry Paterson will be better for his run in Vancouver, his first tournament back from injury.

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A tough tournament, tough Pool, fingers crossed for an improved performance by the men.

The women came fourth in Vancouver. A credible performance but not what they expect from their high standards. Their penchant for red cards has not helped and they suffered two more last weekend. It will be interesting to see how they perform, especially as they will have had a significantly higher load than planned, now playing back-to-back tournaments.

In red card world Teagan Levi was suspended for four games, three games last weekend and so will miss the first game in Los Angeles.

From the outside, last weekend the women did not look their usual selves. The first game against Japan, a 12-10 win indicated it was going to be a tough weekend. (They defeated Japan in the previous tournament 66-0). Not one to make hasty generalisations but they are missing Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and Bienne Terita big time. This was highlighted even more when Teagan Levi was suspended for three games last weekend.

The old saying that forwards win games, backs decide by how much is pertinent. So Bella Nasser and Lily Dick have big shoes to fill this weekend, especially in the first game. Tia Hinds, playing her first tournament of the season, had a great tournament and really stepped up when Maddy Ashby was suspended for three matches. Plus she kicks which was more than handy as Teagan Levi was out.

In their Pool is Ireland who defeated them in the Perth final, and France who defeated them in the last weekend’s Vancouver semi final. Not to mention Japan who only just lost to the Aussie women.

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So for the women, it may well be another challenging weekend.

Australian Sevens Los Angeles 2024 Schedule
All times AEDT

Women

Saturday, March 2
Australia v Ireland – 11:30 am

Sunday, March 3
Australia v Japan – 6:42 am
Australia v France – 11:40 am

Men
Saturday, March 2
Australia v New Zealand – 3:22 pm

Sunday, March 3
Australia v USA – 6:20 am
Australia v Samoa – 10:28 am

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Australian women’s squad
1. Lily Dick
2. Sharni Smale
3. Faith Nathan
4. Dominique Du Toit
5. Teagan Levi
6. Madison Ashby
7. Charlotte Caslick (c)
8. Kaitlin Shave
9. Tia Hinds
10. Bella Nasser
12. Maddison Levi
44. Sidney Taylor
65. Sariah Paki

Australian men’s squad
1.Henry Hutchison
2. Ben Dowling
3. Henry Palmer
4. Dietrich Roache
5. Tim Clements
6. Henry Paterson
7. Josh Turner
9. Matt Gonzalez
10. Nick Malouf (c)
11. Maurice Longbottom
12. Nathan Lawson
14. James Turner
25. Hayden Sargeant
87. Michael Icely

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