Inspirational captain Sharni Williams and strike weapon Ellia Green can celebrate their returns from injury this weekend by ensuring Australia claims its maiden world series women’s sevens title.
Coach Tim Walsh has brought back his big guns and selected Australia’s most experienced squad in history for the final-round tournament in France next week.
Skipper Williams will make her comeback from a knee injury which had sidelined her this season while the electric Green will return from a shoulder problem.
The gold medal favourites for the Rio Olympics, Australia have still thrived in their absence, winning three straight tournaments to be on the cusp of their first overall title.
A finish of sixth or better, basically one victory in knockout final day action, in Clermont will seal the world series trophy for the Pearls.
“The squad has laid down the foundations for a history-making opportunity,” Walsh said.
“To win a world title does not come around very often and to win the most prestigious series in women’s rugby would be a huge honour.
“Also, what better way to prepare for an Olympics?”
Walsh has also recalled Alicia Quirk, Emma Tonegato and star playmaker Charlotte Caslick after they were rested for the last round in Canada.
He also appointed interim skipper Shannon Parry as co-captain with Williams due to her strong leadership this year.
“It really allows (Williams) to focus on performance after a lengthy injury,” Walsh said. “Our priority first and foremost is to get Sharni firing again and getting back to the form that sees her as one of the premier forwards in the game.”
Australia: Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Nicole Beck, Tiana Penitani, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Amy Turner, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Ellia Green.