RUGBY: The Australian women’s rugby sevens team goes to the Rio Olympics as gold medal favourites, but men’s captain Ed Jenkins is feeling confident too after the naming of the squads.
Despite his side finishing a disappointing 10th in the London Sevens two months ago – and fourth overall in the 2015-16 world series – Jenkins is still eyeing top spot on the podium.
“A gold medal has been our ambition for a while now and that was reinforced at the start of the year when Friendy (coach Andy Friend) came in to take over the side,” he told reporters.
“Looking at the team we have for Rio it will definitely be the strongest we have fielded all year.”
Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry will co-captain the women’s squad and confidence is high after winning the world sevens rugby championship in May ahead of New Zealand, Canada and England.
“Our goal is to go to Rio and win gold and it is something we speak about every day,” Williams said in a statement.
“The world series win has certainly given us the confidence to achieve that goal.”
Among the leading lights for the women’s squad is 23-year-old Emilee Cherry, the world sevens player of the year in 2014.
Teenage sensation Henry Hutchison, who debuted for Australia in December and won the world series rookie of the year for the 2015-16 season, was included in the squad, continuing his rapid rise.
Rugby sevens is making its Olympic debut in Rio.
Women’s squad: Shannon Parry (c), Sharni Williams (c), Nicole Beck, Gemma Etheridge, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Amy Turner, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Ellia Green
Men’s squad: Ed Jenkins (c), Con Foley, Jesse Parahi, Tom Cusack, Nick Malouf, Pat McCutcheon, James Stannard, Lewis Holland, John Porch, Henry Hutchison, Cameron Clark, Allan Fa’alav’au
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