Australia name world-class women’s and men’s squads for Dubai SVNS
The SVNS World Series will look a little bit different this season but the dream remains the same as the best of the best battle it out for bragging rights, trophies and glory.
Harbouring ambitions of taking out the overall series title this season, the Australian women’s and men’s teams have arrived in Dubai ahead of the first event this weekend.
Led by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Caslick, an impressive squad that oozes experience will look to end the Black Ferns’ reign at the top of the world.
The side includes 11 players who helped Australia win an unrivalled golden season in 2022, with the team taking out the Commonwealth Games, Rugby Sevens World Cup and the World Sevens Series.
But the Black Ferns will be hard to beat. Australia will need to bring their A-game as they look to extend their traditionally strong form in Dubai for another season.
“The program has spent the best part of preseason training and playing around the world. The objective being to play more rugby, increase player and team rugby IQ, resilience, positional depth and team combinations,” women’s coach Tim Walsh said in a statement.
“Tom Carter has challenged and physically extended the team to an elite level, whilst consistently having 85% of the squad at full training capacity. We also have the full squad available for selection and welcome Kaitlin Shave who will make her long-awaited debut with the Australian team.“We are very fortunate to have experienced players in Charlotte Caslick and Sharni Smale leading the team during such an intense Olympic season – both have navigated the challenges of such seasons, and they know what to expect.“Sevens continues to go from strength to strength and, in an Olympic year, the launch of the invigorated new format will only enhance the entertainment spectacle and world-class product the HSBC World Sevens Series delivers.”
The return of Ben Dowling is the major takeaway from the Australian men’s teams squad, while development squad members Henry Palmer and Ben Dalton have also been given the go-ahead for the opening round of the series.
Dally Bird and Hayen Sargeant have retained their spots in the 13-man squad as they prepare for their second seasons at the top level.
Bird, 21, recently told RugbyPass about his heartbreaking exit from Waratahs Academy and how that continues to fuel him on the SVNS series.
Nick Malouf captains the side after an injury-riddled 2022/23 campaign, while experienced campaigners Maurice Longbottom, Dietrich Roache, James and Josh Turner will also don Aussie gold.
“Finally we have arrived at the start line for a huge season. There has been plenty of work done to put us in a strong position to perform,” men’s coach John Manenti said.
“Consistency is what we are searching for throughout the season and our depth is starting to build nicely to put us in a position to do that.“We know if we play with the physicality, skill & detail that we’ve put in during the preseason, we’ll be in good shape to get a result in Dubai.”
Australians can watch every round of the HSBC SVNS series ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sport.
Australia Women’s Sevens team for Dubai SVNS:2. Sharni Smale3. Faith Nathan4. Dominique Du Toit5. Teagan Levi6. Madison Ashby7. Charlotte Caslick (C)8. Kaitlin Shave*11. Demi Hayes12. Maddison Levi22. Bienne Terita55. Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea65. Sariah Paki*Denotes potential debutAustralia Men’s Sevens team for Dubai SVNS:2. Ben Dowling3. Henry Palmer4. Dietrich Roache5. Tim Clements7. Josh Turner8. Dally Bird9. Matt Gonzalez10. Nick Malouf (C)11. Maurice Longbottom12. Nathan Lawson13. Ben Dalton14. James Turner25. Hayden Sargeant