Sharni Williams OAM (rugby 7s) helped Australia to a historic Triple Crown in 2022 – the World Rugby Sevens Series title, Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham and the Rugby Sevens World Cup in South Africa where she was named player of the match in the final against New Zealand.
Sharni has been playing top-level rugby sevens for well over a decade but the 50-tournament 300-match veteran has no intention of hanging up the boots just yet. She was co-captain of the team that won the inaugural Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016. At her second Olympics in Tokyo – where she received special approval to wear a rainbow head gear to celebrate inclusive nature of the sport – the team lost in the quarter finals and she is looking to end her decorated career on a high with a second Olympic gold in Paris.
Sharni played hockey for the Canberra Strikers and the Hockeyroos were on her radar but stopped enjoying the sport and when she got asked to play rugby, she gladly accepted the challenge. She made her debut in the Wallaroos (15-a-side) jersey against New Zealand in 2008 before making the switch to Sevens at the inaugural Women’s Sevens World Series in 2012.
Williams was also part of the team that won silver at her first Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, going down to New Zealand 17-12 in the final.
Off the pitch, Sharni is a qualified motor mechanic and changed her name to Sharni Smale after marrying partner Mel Smale in 2023.
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Being accessible, Transport is key, being able to tell us what is safe. The offsite space (similar to the Olympics Edge). Having things to do, post competition.
Are you a citizen of a country other than Australia? If yes, please provide details?
Dip of Business Cert 3 Motor Vehicle Mechanics
Why did you begin your sport?
I was a hockey player and i needed something different. I played hockey from 8 - 20. I always wanted to play rugby league with the boys but i was never allowed.
Do you have any pre-competition routines or rituals?
I Hit the coat of arms on my chest twice before I run out. I also have to have my socks at the same heights.
What is your most memorable sporting achievement?
Rio 2016 Gold Medal.
Who is your hero / idol, and why? Have you ever met them?
Caroline Buchanan, The way she holds herself off the BMX track. Giving back to the community. She has a work life balance and thats something that I aspire to do. My Dad. He was the one that always told me I could do it. I'm living his dream, Mechanic, Playing Rugby.
Who has been the most influential person or people in your career and why?
Tim Walsh, Coach. I've always had the playing ability but hes able to make the most of those skills and abilities.
Do you have any hobbies away from your sport?
Work, fixing my motor bike, surfing and camping.
What is your sporting ambition?
To leave rugby in a better place.