Aussie women honoured to be part of Dubai
Story and Photo: www.irbsevens.com
This weekend the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, the second round of the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series, takes place at 7he Sevens with 16 teams competing for the Cup title.
The tournament, however, is also set to host the first IRB-sanctioned international women's Sevens competition in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 and the Olympic Games in 2016.
The competition features eight teams - Australia, Canada, Spain, Brazil, England, USA, China and South Africa - competing in two pools, with several matches being played on the main pitch on 2-3 December.
At the launch of the 2011 Dubai tournament, Australia's women's Sevens coach Chris Lane spoke about the pride he and his team are feeling at participating in this event, and also the excitement surrounding the future of the Game.
"The girls are very excited to be here," said Lane.
"It is an enormous honour for them to be part of the first Australian team to compete in such a tournament like this, and it is the same for me. When I got the call about being coach I was enormously proud and it is a great honour.
"It is a very exciting time to be involved in Sevens with the Olympic inclusion, and that is what the buzz around the sport is all about, looking forward to 2016.
"There are just tremendous opportunities for these girls and the Game is just going to grow."
Australia are the defending Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens champions, having beaten New Zealand in sudden death extra time in the final of the inaugural competition in 2009, in Dubai.
RWC Sevens experience
With four members of that team in the squad for the IRB Women's Series Challenge Cup, Lane is hoping to use all of their experience to perform well again.
"It helps with motivation [having won in 2009], and I am lucky to have some of those experienced members in the squad," added Lane.
"We are in the middle of a transitional period and introducing new players, but having that experience around is invaluable to the newer members of the squad."
In rebuilding the Wallaroo Sevens squad, Lane has also dipped into the wider sporting talent pool available in Australia.
"We have a couple of girls who have come over from Touch Rugby and we have a healthy relationship with Touch Australia which we need to continue.
"We started off with a couple of camps with squads of up to 25 girls in Canberra. We have also come of the back of three domestic camps.
"That gave us an opportunity to look at these girls and for some of the Touch girls to make some tackles and get involved in the breakdown, which was a whole new experience for them. But that is how we have got here, and the girls are just looking forward to getting on the field and giving it a go."