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Injuries force Aussie 7s reshuffle with players to return home from Vancouver

By Finn Morton
Australian players huddle during the 2024 Perth SVNS women's Cup Final match between Ireland and Australia at HBF Park on January 28, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Women’s SVNS Series leaders Australia have been dealt a tough blow ahead of the upcoming tournament in Vancouver as two players need to return home to Australia due to injury.

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As confirmed on Wednesday, Rugby Australia’s 2023 Shawn Mackay Award nominee Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea has picked up an issue with her shoulder.

Rising star Heidi Dennis, who debuted on the SVNS Series at last month’s event in Perth, has a thigh injury and will join Lefau-Fakaosilea in returning home to Australia.

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Coach Tim Walsh has called the reliable Lily Dick back into the squad for the first time this season, while Sidney Taylor is in line to debut at senior level for Australia.

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Lily Dick, 24, is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, World Series champion and Rugby Sevens World Cup winner. There’s no question that she can be counted on after being called into the playing squad.

The rest of the squad remains unchanged from how it was originally announced with two-time Olympian Charlotte Caslick set to captain the Aussies in The Great White North.

Madison Ashby, who recently re-signed with the sevens program, and Teagan Levi are among the world-class players who have played a key role in the team’s success this season.

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“The key thing for us is to keep them on the field,” coach Tim Walsh told RugbyPass earlier this week when asked about the quality of the squad.

“We have a pretty philosophical view, and it’s not rocket science but the more you train the better you get. The more we train the better we get but the more we train and play together we become unstoppable.

“We’ve got to make sure that at training our medical staff and S&C (strength and conditioning) and everyone to make sure every player is training efficiently and effectively as often as possible and together as (much as) possible.

“To have Mady re-sign and then having these girls performing well and together puts in a pretty position for us to keep rolling on this season and beyond.”

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The pair of Lefau-Fakaosilea and Dennis join Bienne Terita in the injury ward. The rising star picked up the injury during SVNS Perth late last month.

Try-scoring machine Madison Levi has still got to serve the third and fourth matches of her suspension after being red-carded in the Perth quarter-finals against New Zealand.

The SVNS Series is off to North America with stops in Vancouver and LA. After the stop in Canada, SVNS LA is from March 1 to 3 and tickets can be bought HERE.

Updated Australia women’s squad

  1. Lily Dick, 2. Sharni Smale, 3. Faith Nathan, 4. Dominique Du Toit, 5. Teagan Levi, 6. Madison Ashby, 7. Charlotte Caslick (c), 8. Kaitlin Shave, 9. Tia Hinds, 10. Bella Nasser, 12. Maddison Levi, 44. Sidney Taylor, 65. Sariah Paki
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