2018 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens: ‘Four-way Battle’ for Women’s Rugby Sevens Gold

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2018 Commonwealth Games Sevens Rugby
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: (L-R) Alicia Quirk, Charlotte Caslick, Evania Pelite, Dominique Du Toit and Emma Tonegato of the Australian Women's Sevens team pose during the Australian Rugby Sevens Commonwealth Games Teams Announcement at the Rugby Australia building on March 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Eight teams will compete for the inaugural 2018 Commonwealth Games Women’s Rugby Sevens competition. It will be a ‘four-way battle’ for top spot, with hosts Australia favorites.

The Olympic-format tournament is being held at the 27,400 seat Robina Stadium, from the April 13-15, 2018. The women’s competition begins today, with the men’s held on Saturday.

Olympic champions Australia are the overwhelming favorites as they currently lead the HSBC Sevens Series. New Zealand is their biggest threat, as are the Canadians, English and Fijian sides.

Two Pools make up the field of eight teams. Download the full schedule here.

  • Pool A: New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya and Canada.
  • Pool B: Australia, Wales, England and Fiji.

2018 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens: The LOWDOWN

The top four sides from last season in the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series are the top bets for this first-ever Commonwealth Games Gold Medal. As such, Australia has been the most consistent team all season, while the Kiwis girls have had a mixture results.

The Canadians can ‘turn up on the day’ and so can the unpredictable Fijiana side. Plenty of stars will be in action too, with the very best in the women’s game on show. Portia Woodman, Charlotte Caslick and Ghislaine Landry to name only a few.

However, the Kiwis will miss the services of power forward Ruby Tui. She had to withdraw after catching the mumps before the Games. On the other hand; it could be the best motivating factor for the Black Ferns ‘Sevens Sisters’ to gate crash the hosts party on the Gold Coast.

Here is your Lowdown, with Jovilisi Waqa.

Women’s Draw – Pool A

New Zealand

The Black Ferns sevens coach has named a very formidable side with the Olympians chasing Gold. Sarah Goss will lead the side with seniors in Tyla Nathan-Wong and Shakira Baker.

With the loss of Ruby Tui and Kat Whata-Simpskin, changes have been made. Tenika Wilison and Alena Saili have been brought in as replacements.

Michela Blyde needs to step up to support Portia Woodman together with Kelly Brazier. The right attitude could give them the edge this weekend.

Black Ferns Sevens squad: Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau), Stacey Waaka (Waikato), Shakira Baker (Waikato), Sarah Goss (Manawatu), Ruby Tui (Bay of Plenty), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland), Kat Whata-Simpkins (Wellington), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), Gayle Broughton (Bay of Plenty), Niall Williams (Auckland), Michaela Blyde (Bay of Plenty).  Travelling reserve: Tenika Willison (Waikato)

Canada

They can upset the Oceania giants when they are focused, with big name players like Ghislaine Landry and Julia Grenshields.

“We are excited for another opportunity to compete at a multi-sport games, even more so with these Games as it will be a first time ever and features the current top three teams in the world,” said John Tait from Langford.

“Selection, for the first time this season has been extremely tough, with the return of some of our most experienced players along with a few of the younger ones putting they hands up with some really good consistent play of late,“ he added to independentsportsnews.com

Olivia Apps will be their biggest weapon and the youngster will shine. Brittany Benn together with Bianca Farella and Haanah Darling will lay platforms for the Canadian onslaught.

Canadian squad: Olivia Apps – Aurora Barbarians (Lindsay, ON),Brittany Benn – Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON), Caroline Crossley – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC), Hannah Darling – Peterborough Pagans (Warsaw, ON), Bianca Farella – Town of Mont Royal RFC (Montreal, QC), Julia Greenshields – Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON), Sara Kaljuvee – Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON), Ghislaine Landry – Captain, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON), Megan Lukan – Unattached (Barrie, ON), Kayla Moleschi – Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC), Breanne Nicholas – London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON), Natasha Watcham-Roy – Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC), Charity Williams – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON). Travelling reserve: Pamphinette Buisa – Ottawa Irish (Gatineau, QC)

South Africa

After their shock loss to Japan at the HSBC Sevens Series qualifiers in Hong Kong, the LadyBlitzbokke are seeking vengeance.

Zenay Jordan, Nadine Roos together with Marithy Pienaar and Veroeshka Grain will spearhead their campaign.

LadyBlitzbokke squad: Nadine Roos, Eloise Webb, Unathi Mali, Rights Mkhari, Zintle Mpupha, Veroeshka Grain, Zenay Jordaan, Marithy Pienaar, Mathrin Simmers, Christelene Steinhobel, Chane Stadler and Zinthle Ndawonde, Aseza Hele (travelling reserve)

Kenya

They looked good in Hong Kong last weekend in the Series qualifiers, where they beat South Africa in Pool play. They will rise to the occasion but, will also learn from experience. Janet Owino will be the one to watch.

Kenya Lioness squad: Grace Okulu, Judith Okumu, Janet Owino, Cynthia Atieno, Janet Okello, Rachel Mbogo, Michelle Omondi, Celestine Masinde, Sheila Chajira, Philadelphia Olando, Doreen Remour and Stacy Otieno.

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Women’s Draw – Pool B

Australia

Australia will be out to win at home. They are ‘on fire this season and will want to add to their Olympic Gold and 2016/17 Series titles.

Charlotte Caslick (see main picture) will be vital on attack, together with Emilee Cherry and Alicia Quirk. Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams will lay the foundation on which flyers Emma Tonegato and Elia Green will finish.

Keep an eye on the rookies, especially Emma Sykes and Dom Du Toit.

Australian Squad: Emma Tonegato, Elia Green, Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Charlotte Caslick, Emilee Cherry, Cassie Staples, Dom Du Toit, Emma Sykes, Georgina Friedrichs, Demi Hayes, Evania Pelite, Alicia Quirk.

Fiji

With six Olympians in Ana Maria Roqica, Litia Naiqato, Luisa Basei, Veniana Riwai, Lavenia Tinai and Rusila Nagasau, that experience should make them contenders.

They haven’t hit their best this season, and can deliver that here on the Gold Coast. The Fijiana are hungry to prove their critics wrong!

Fijiana squad: Ana Roqica (Captain), Litia Naiqato, Rusila Nagasau, Vasiti Solikoviti, Miriama Naiobasali, Timaima Ravisa, Viniana Riwai, Pricilla Siata, Lavena Cavuru, Lavenia Tinai, Ana Naimasi, Elenoa Naimata.

England

The English are unpredictable [like the London weather]. Jess Breach will be the key, with Emily Scarratt, Deborah Fleming and leader Abbie Brown.

Consistency and execution will get them through, in a pool they should finish second in. Natasha Hunt together with Alex Matthews and Amy Wilson Hardy will need to step up – and then, in the semi-finals they are likely to meet New Zealand.

England squad: Claire Allan, Abbie Brown ©, Lydia Thompson, Emily Scarratt, Natasha Hunt, Deborah Fleming, Heather Fisher, Emily Scott, Alex Matthews, Megan Jones, Jess Breach, Amy Wilson Hardy Travelling reserve: Vicky Fleetwood.

Wales

Last weekend’s appearance in Hong Kong, gave them a chance to look through their game; which has improved. They will be tested to the maximum by their experienced opponents.

Jaz Joyce will be the one to watch, along with young Kayleigh Powell.

Team Wales Women’s Sevens: Alisha Butchers; Elinor Snowsill; Gemma Rowland; Hannah Jones; Jaz Joyce; Kayleigh Powell; Laurie Harries; Philippa Tuttiett (c); Shona Powell-Hughes; Sian Williams; Sinead Breeze; Sioned Harries.

2018 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens – the Verdict

Jovilisi Waqa has a ‘hunch’ that Fijiana will be the surprise package, along with England. Australia are hot favorites of course, with the Kiwis and Canadians.

Editor Scott Hornell is interested to see how Canada fare in Pool A. They may put all their energy into the third and final pool game, they might ‘slip up’ if they do not take Kenya or South Africa seriously.

“One slip is all it takes, to miss out on the medals!”

The women will certainly entertain the fans here on the Gold Coast. Be ready to watch for some big hits, thrills and spills, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens.

 

“Main Photo Credit:”
Embed from Getty Images

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