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Australia captain Charlotte Caslick seeks dream final against New Zealand

By Finn Morton
Charlotte Caslick of Australia and Risi Pouri-Lane of New Zealand prepare to lead their teams out during the 2024 Perth SVNS women's match between New Zealand and Australia at HBF Park on January 27, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

SVNS Series veteran and Australia captain Charlotte Caslick is hoping to take on League winners New Zealand in what would be a blockbuster Cup final at the Grand Final in Madrid.

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With the regular season of the new-look SVNS Series now in the books, the top eight women’s and men’s teams have qualified for a “winner-takes-all” event in Spain’s capital this weekend.

From Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, the best of the best will go head-to-head at the iconic Civitas Metropolitano Stadium in the pursuit of overall SVNS glory to conclude the season.

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Two women’s teams will run out onto the field at the home of Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid at about 7:49 pm local time on Sunday, and a winner will be crowned soon after.

With Australia still searching for their first Cup final triumph since they went back-to-back in Dubai and Cape Town last December, now would be the perfect time for everything to click.

The women in gold fell short in Singapore earlier this month as Black Ferns Sevens star Jorja Millar ran riot at the National Stadium. That win also secured the League title for New Zealand.

But with the chance to make amends of sorts in the Grand Final, the Aussies “are pumped” and ready to go ahead of a historic three-day event in front of thousands of rugby fans in Madrid.

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“We’re feeling really good,” Caslick said in a World Rugby press release. “We had some disappointing injuries in Singapore but we are really looking forward to seeing how it goes here.

“It is winner-takes-all so the girls are pumped for a big showdown. Hopefully, we can cross with New Zealand in the final.

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“It will be awesome to get as many people there to support. Obviously, the games are going to be very tough with the top eight teams in the tournament. Every game is going to be a cracker.”

When the Australians flew into Singapore earlier this month, they were without two of their biggest stars. Olympic gold medallists Caslick and Sharni Smale stayed back in Australia.

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Coach Tim Walsh turned to younger players including Maddison Levi, Teagen Levi, Faith Nathan and more as they charged towards the final, but they seemed to miss some experience.

Almost one month on, Caslick has been named to return along with Bienne Terita who has overcome a niggly injury – having not taken the field since SVNS Perth in January.

It’s a welcomed boost for the Aussies following the season-ending knee injuries to team vice-captain Madison Ashby and youngster Lily Dick in humid conditions at the National Stadium.

“I am really looking forward to being back. I missed the girls when they were in Singapore but I am so proud of how they went,” Caslick continued.

“I’m happy to be back with the girls and hopefully leading from the front.

“We are buzzing about being in Madrid. The atmosphere around the city is great and we’re looking forward to bringing that atmosphere to the pitch.”

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