Australia announce 7s squad
ARU
July 7, 2008

Australian Rugby Union today named an historic 12-woman team for the IRB Sevens 2009 World Cup qualifiers to be played in Samoa on July 25-26.

It is the first time Australia has fielded a Women's Sevens team, after the Wallaroos debuted on the 15-a-side international stage in 1994.

Selection trials for the history-making Paper to Paper Australian Women's Sevens squad were staged in Sydney and Brisbane in April, before final selections were made at the conclusion of the National Women's Championship last week on the Gold Coast.

The qualifiers in Samoa will involve nations from the Oceania region, including Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji and Niue.

Only two teams from the tournament will advance to the 16-team World Cup main draw in Dubai next year.

Eight players in the inaugural squad are Wallaroos internationals including veterans Cheryl Soon, Tui Ormsby and Selena Tranter (nee Worsley).

Tricia Brown, Ruan Sims, sister of Brisbane Broncos prop Ashton, Alex Hargreaves, Iliseva Batisbasaga, all represented Australia at the Womens' Rugby World Cup in Canada in 2006 and will now earn their first international caps in the shortened version of the game.

Four players - Nicole Beck, Amanda Judd, Rebecca Tavo and Selene Thornton - have made the transition from national representative touch football to Sevens rugby for the first time.

Men's Australian Sevens captain Shawn Mackay will coach the team after incumbent coach Bill Millard accepted an offer to coach in Wales and said that team was excited about the challenge ahead.

"All the squad are really excited about the upcoming experience and want to perform well and qualify for the World Cup," said Mackay.

"I will use the time we have together to pass on my experience at international Sevens level to help the players understand the tricks of the trade a little more.

"We have some of the best women's rugby players in the country and the players from touch footy will be a real asset as they all catch pass very well, are able to move the ball at speed and have high fitness levels."

Brazil has already qualified for the women's World Cup through a South American tournament. The remaining qualifiers will be drawn from Oceania (two), Africa (two), North America (two), Asia (three) and Europe (six).

2008 PAPER TO PAPER AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S SEVENS TEAM

Iliseva Batibasaga
Nicole Beck
Tricia Brown
Alex Hargreaves
Debby Hodgkinson
Amanda Judd
Tui Ormsby
Ruan Sims
Cheryl Soon
Rebecca Tavo
Selene Thornton
Selena Tranter

Shadow Players
Tegan French
Faryaneh Hayati
Melissa Rowe

Management Team
Shawn Mackay - Coach
Matt Grimison - Manager (Samoa leg)
Simonne Spooner - Physiotherapist

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