Australian Men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh has named a settled squad with Lewis Holland set to lead the side at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Henry Hutchison will cap his return to the Sevens program with a RWC Sevens appearance while Liam McNamara has earned himself a berth in the side following an impressive showing in Australia’s last leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris.
The Australian Women’s side, and Olympic Champions, will again be co-captained by Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams, with the latter overcoming an ankle injury that has ruled her out since the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The Australian Women, who were recently crowned the 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series champions, have named their strongest possible squad with only Dominique du Toit unavailable because of a collarbone injury.
Both the Men’s and Women’s sides finished fifth at the World Cup in Russia five years ago but the Women have tasted World Cup Sevens success before, when they lifted the trophy in 2009 at the inaugural Women’s event in Dubai.
The Australian Men have featured at all six of the previous Rugby World Cup Sevens, having finished second on two occasions (1993, 2001) and third in 2005.
Australian Women’s Sevens squad for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 (in alphabetical order):
Lauren Brown*, 3 caps, QLD and Griffith University
Charlotte Caslick, 29 caps, QLD and Bond University
Emilee Cherry, 32 caps, QLD and University of Queensland
Ellia Green*, 21 caps, VIC and University of Tasmania
Demi Hayes*, 8 caps, QLD and Griffith University
Page McGregor*, 3 caps, NSW and Macquarie University
Yasmin Meakes*, 3 caps, ACT and University of Canberra
Shannon Parry (c), 31 caps, QLD and Griffith University
Evania Pelite*, 20 caps, QLD and University of Adelaide
Alicia Quirk*, 26 caps, NSW and University of New England
Cassie Staples*, 7 caps, NSW and University of Canberra
Emma Tonegato*, 24 caps, NSW and University of Adelaide
Sharni Williams (c), 27 caps, ACT and University of Canberra
*Rugby World Cup Sevens debut
Australian Women’s coach John Manenti said: “Obviously being knockout, it’s really hard to plan. You can have any number of teams depending on how you go and how they go.
“You can’t buy experience and the fact that most of the squad have been through it and done it over the years, and more recently in Paris last month, that will put them in good stead.
“There is sure to be close games in the World Cup and I think experience will help us through that when they come,” Manenti said.
Australian Women’s Sevens fixture at AT&T Park, San Francisco on Saturday 21 July:
Australia v Papua New Guinea at 4:28am AEST
If Australia wins its first clash against Papua New Guinea, they will progress through to the top eight playoff.
Australian Men’s Sevens squad for the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 (in alphabetical order):
Lachlan Anderson*, 17 caps, Eastwood NSW
Tim Anstee*, 20 caps, Eastwood NSW
Lewis Holland (c), 40 caps, Queanbeyan
Henry Hutchison*, 17 caps, Randwick NSW
Boyd Killingworth*, 19 caps, Warringah NSW
Maurice Longbottom*, 8 caps, Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team
Tom Lucas*, 27 caps, Sunnybank QLD
Liam McNamara*, 8 caps, Sunnybank QLD
Sam Myers*, 37 caps, Norths NSW
Ben O’Donnell*, 10 caps, Randwick NSW
Jesse Parahi, 44 caps, Norths NSW
John Porch*, 19 caps, Norths NSW
Brandon Quinn*, 9 caps, Gordon NSW
*Rugby World Cup Sevens debut
Australian Men’s coach Tim Walsh said: “Every game is a battle for the right to compete to be the world’s best. From the outset, every game has a real pressure about it and so it’s all about embracing and owning those key moments.
“The format is different and being adaptive and agile is the environment of international Sevens. Teams will be well equipped and prepared in anticipation for this prestigious event. There has to be a winner and loser and potentially, every moment of every game could be the difference.
“We are used to playing six games over two days and not four games over three days, so in order to replicate the Rugby World Cup format we have adjusted our training and strategies to assist with our mental preparation. More so than ever our ‘Process driven and Performance based’ thinking, is relevant.
“Liam (McNamara) has had a tough run with injuries over the last while but really came back strong in Paris last month to force my hand. He’s a great ball player with awareness, time and composure so I’m looking forward to seeing him play to his potential,” Walsh said.
Australian Men’s Sevens fixture at AT&T Park, San Francisco on Saturday 21 July:
Australia v Winner M3 (France/Jamaica) at 12:47pm AEST
If Australia wins its first clash, they will progress through to the top eight playoff.
For the full RWC Sevens fixtures, please click HERE.
Both teams travel to USA this weekend as defending World Cup champions with a high-stakes new knock-out format effectively equalising the playing field for the 24 countries in the men’s tournament, and 16 national unions in the women’s field.
In naming the squads at the new home of New Zealand Sevens high performance – Mt Maunganui – New Zealand Rugby’s Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said excitement was growing as the tournament approached.
“The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens captured the nation’s attention with stunning gold medal wins at the Commonwealth Games and we look forward to seeing their performances in San Francisco.
“Rugby is growing as a global sport, and to play a World Cup tournament in San Francisco opens up a whole new audience, so we know there will be a lot of interest in this tournament.
“We wish the teams, and coaches Clark Laidlaw and Allan Bunting, the very best of luck for their campaigns, and we look forward to them doing us proud and continuing to inspire the next generation of sevens stars,” said Cass.
Who are the bolters, where's Vilimoni Koroi and how will the @WorldRugby7s World Cup format suit the team? #AllBlacks7s coach Clark Laidlaw explains all HERE ➡️ https://t.co/ahlwb4HvIj#RWC7s pic.twitter.com/UY4EPHzc2G— AllBlacks7s (@AllBlacks7s) July 10, 2018
The All Blacks Sevens team is;
Kurt Baker (Manawatu)
Dylan Collier (Waikato)
Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty) (Captain)
Trael Joass (Tasman)
Andrew Knewstubb (Horowhenua Kapiti)
Jona Nareki (Otago)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato) (Captain)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)
Salesi Rayasi (Auckland)
Joe Ravouvou (Auckland)
Akuila Rokolisoa (Auckland)
Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)
Unavailable due to injury: Joe Webber, Amanaki Nicole, Sam Dickson, Etene Nanai-Seturo and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black.
All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw said the unique nature of the knock out competition contributed to it being a difficult squad to select.
“Getting the balance of the squad right was the main thing. It’s a different tournament in that its four games instead of six and we can only take 12 players, so we were looking to have flexibility in the 12 in terms of the positions they cover.
“No team has ever won back to back World Cup titles since it’s started so we have certainly talked about that and about being the first team to change that. We know there are massive challenges to come, all the teams will be really well prepared,” said Laidlaw.
The All Blacks Sevens will play the winner of Russia v Hong Kong in their first match on Saturday July 21 (kick off 07.31 UAE time)
#BlackFerns7s coach Allan Bunting says the game now is so much stronger and faster than when they claimed the world title in Moscow back in 2013.— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) July 10, 2018
READ: https://t.co/XPYIqJNa40#RWC7s pic.twitter.com/KBkCT6a6MG
The Black Ferns Sevens team is;
Shakira Baker (Waikato)
Michaela Blyde (Bay of Plenty)
Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty)
Gayle Broughton (Bay of Plenty)
Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland)
Sarah Goss (Manawatu) (Captain)
Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland)
Ruby Tui (Bay of Plenty)
Stacey Waaka (Waikato)
Niall Williams (Auckland)
Tenika Willison (Waikato)
Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau)
Black Ferns Sevens coach Allan Bunting said this was the most challenging squad he has ever had to name.
“It was definitely hard but that’s exactly where we want to be. In our trials there was so much motivation, excitement and skill set; we know we have selected the right team.
“We have had a good year, but this group is strict on themselves, we think we have room to improve and those last bits we need to get right are the toughest.
“Our players are incredibly motivated, playing in an amazing stadium and having the chance to leave mana there, to inspire other women, this is another great opportunity for our team,” said Bunting.
The Black Ferns Sevens face Mexico in their opening match of the World Cup on Friday 20 July (kick off 22.50 Friday July 21 UAE time).
The reigning World Champions in both men’s and women’s Sevens, as well as men’s and women’s Fifteens, both teams also claimed the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
This is the first time Black Ferns Sevens jerseys have been made available for purchase, a nod to the international success of the team and their growing fan base.
The Dark Energy jersey designs see the latest technology aligned with a sleek new design, featuring the team crests and “energised ferns” throughout.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Sponsorship Megan Compain said having both jerseys available for sale was great for fans of Sevens.
“It’s been a big year for both our sevens teams, no one will forget their heroics at the Commonwealth Games, bringing home double gold after exceptional campaigns.
“It is fantastic to see the success of the Black Ferns Sevens being recognised with their jerseys been made available for public sale for the first time and we expect they will be a popular item.
“We know the teams are working hard as they prepare to defend their World Cup crowns, so having the public able to show their support with these new jerseys is great,” said Compain.
Quentin Bleakley, adidas New Zealand Country Manager is excited to see the new jerseys in action this month.
“We’ve made many technical and visual changes to the new Sevens range for both teams which will benefit each athlete and their ability to deliver what they need to on the field. From lightweight fabric through to minimal seams and refined bands, each design change is aimed to help players preform to their best on what is arguably the biggest stage that they will face in their athletic career,” said Bleakley.
Jerseys are available for purchase online at allblackshop.com and selected retail outlets.