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‘The ultimate athlete’: Former sprint champ set to debut at Dubai SVNS

By Finn Morton
Kaitlin Shave poses during an Australian Women's Rugby Sevens Portrait Session on November 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Looking to take out Cup final glory in the opening round of the new-look SVNS Series, the Australian women’s sevens team are set to unleash a former high school sprint star in Dubai this weekend.

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Kaitlin Shave will wear the No. 8 jersey at The Sevens Stadium on Saturday and Sunday after being named to debut as part of a star-studded Australia squad.

Shave was the standout during the AON Next Gen Sevens earlier this year, with the Queenslander crossing for 19 tries in just 12 appearances – clearly, the 22-year-old was destined for more.

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With co-captain Demi Hayes and veteran Sharni Williams missing out on last season’s leg in Vancouver with injuries, it seemed that Shave would debut on the Series.

But the speedster was made to wait a bit longer.

With the new-look SVNS Series upon the rugby world, Aussie Madison Ashby – who was named as one of our seven players to watch this season – hyped up Shave’s limitless potential in sevens.

“Australia produces some of the best wingers and she has unreal speed,” Ashby told Nine’s Wide World of Sports earlier this month. “I feel like this season she will get a good shot and mark her name on the World Series.

“Australia produces very good wingers, like Maddi Levi and Faith Nathan, and I think under their learning she will get into the ultimate athlete and learn a lot off them.”

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The rest of the squad for the Dubai SVNS is full of international superstars. Led by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Caslick, the Aussies are coming for it all in 2023/24.

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Record-breaking try-scorer Maddison Levi will look to continue her rapid rise after a historic season last time around, and she’ll be joined by sister Teagan Levi in the playing group.

Rising stars Faith Nathan and Bienne Terita are another two players to watch as Australia looks to claim their first series title since Dubai last year.

“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 combination,” coach Tim Walsh said in a statement.

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“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.”

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Red and White Dynamight 4 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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