Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7s Teams Poised to Create History in Birmingham

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The Rugby 7s Team Members are the latest squads bound for Birmingham where the side will be bold in gold.

Australia’s men’s and women’s Rugby 7s players are poised to create history when they represent the nation at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games beginning later this month.

Two squads of 13 will represent Australia in both Rugby 7s tournaments as they seek an elusive gold medal.

Australia has a proud international reputation in rugby and has performed well in previous Commonwealth Games. The men’s team won silver at the Delhi 2010 Games and claimed bronze medals in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Glasgow in 2014.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games presented the first women’s Rugby 7s tournament and the Australian Pearls won the silver medal to go with the gold medal the side won at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Global superstar and 2016 Olympics heroine Charlotte Caslick OAM co-captains a versatile squad featuring established stars and emerging talent.

 

 

The 27-year-old Queenslander, who was named World Rugby Women’s 7s Player of the Year in 2016, is motivated to lead Australia to glory at Birmingham after the heartbreaking loss to New Zealand in extra time on the Gold Coast four years ago.

Fellow co-captain Demi Hayes remembers the Gold Coast fondly but is now ready for the next challenge in Birmingham.

“The Gold Coast Games were one of the best experiences I have had in the sport, playing in front of friends and family, and coming away with a silver medal,” Hayes said.

“The sport has grown so much since then, and I have also grown as a player, and now I am so excited to be leading this team of amazing players who are heading to Birmingham.

“We’ve enjoyed an incredible World Rugby Sevens Series, which was a reward for a lot of hard work, sacrifices and determination from the group… now our focus is taking that form into the Commonwealth Games… I can’t wait to get to Birmingham.”

Sharni Williams OAM, 34, is the senior member of a women’s squad that also features sisters Maddison and Teagan Levi from the Gold Coast.

Teagan Levi, 18, and Jesse Southwell, 17, are the two teenagers in the Australian women’s squad and two of the nine Commonwealth Games debutants.

But while they are making their Commonwealth Games debuts, the squad features four of the World Sevens Series Dream Team members, with Caslick and Maddison Levi joined by Madison Ashby and Faith Nathan – following a victorious World Rugby Sevens Series season for the team.

 

 

In the men’s squad, Wallabies superstar, Samu Kerevi, 28, makes his Commonwealth Games debut after playing in the Australian Rugby 7s team that reached the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Widely regarded as one of the best inside centres in XVs rugby, Kerevi starred in a Player of the Match performance in the Wallabies victory over England in Parth last Saturday. After the 7s tournament, he will rejoin the Wallabies for Test match duties.

NSW Waratah Mark Nawaqanitawase, 21, is an exciting addition to the Australian Rugby 7s squad, with great things expected of the Super Rugby representative.

The Australian men’s team will arrive in Birmingham full of confidence after recently breaking a 20-year drought by defeating New Zealand to claim the London 7s tournament.Captain Nick Malouf described that triumph as a reward for the commitment the Australians have shown and a stepping stone for further glory at the Games.

 

 

 

A sentiment echoed by Tokyo Olympian Henry Paterson as the squad targets a positive result in Birmingham.

“It is awesome to be selected for the Australian Team for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,”

“It has been a crazy year for many of us, from the Tokyo Olympics, straight into the World Ruby Sevens Series events, and now heading to Birmingham, but it has meant our squad has formed a really solid foundation, and we are playing some great Rugby.

“For most of us, this will be the first time competing at the Commonwealth Games, but guys like Maurice add some extra experience and knowledge – we’re feeling pretty confident after a good season, and we’ve got a good mix of experience and youth, which will make sure we are ready to go in Birmingham.”

Sydney’s Maurice Longbottom, 27, adds another element of excitement to the team, with his electrifying talent considered a crucial ingredient in their push for gold.

Told as a teenager that he was too small to cope with the rigours of elite international rugby, the man known as “The Magician” on the Rugby 7s field is definitely one to watch in Birmingham at his second Commonwealth Games.

 

 

Commonwealth Games Australia Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM welcomes the Rugby 7s squads to the Australian Team, which now exceeds 400 of Australia’s best sportspeople bound for Birmingham.

“Congratulations to the 26 Rugby 7s players who have been selected to the Australian Team for Birmingham,” Thomas said.

“The selection of today’s Rugby 7s Team Members takes our total team numbers to over 400 of our expected 435 Team Members ready to be bold in gold in Birmingham.

“Both sides have been in wonderful form recently at the World Rugby Sevens Series events, and I know they will be working hard as they build towards Birmingham at the end of this month.

“The Rugby 7s competition at the Games is always a fast, thrilling and fun atmosphere, and I am sure that our Team Members will embrace the packed stands of supporters and are ready to give their best at the Games.”

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos congratulated the 26 Team Members who will proudly don the green and gold in Birmingham and thanked the whole Rugby community for helping them on their journeys to the Games.

“On behalf of the entire Rugby community, I’d like to congratulate every athlete on their selection – today is an exciting day in their careers and their lives,” Marinos said.

“The Commonwealth Games is one of the pinnacle events in the Sevens program and I have no doubt every individual will represent their clubs, friends, families and country to the best of their ability.

“On behalf of everyone in the rugby family, I wish you good luck. We’ll be right behind you the whole way and can’t wait to see you continue to represent Australia in outstanding fashion in Birmingham.”

 

Australian Women’s Rugby 7s Team – Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:

NAME AGE COMMONWEALTH GAMES STATE
Charlotte Caslick OAM 27 2nd Games (2018 - Silver: Women's Rugby 7s) QLD
Lily Dick 22 Debut QLD
Dominique Du Toit 25 2nd Games (2018 - Silver: Women's Rugby 7s) QLD
Demi Hayes 24 2nd Games (2018 - Silver: Women's Rugby 7s) QLD
Madison Ashby 21 Debut NSW
Tia Hinds 20 Debut NSW
Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea 21 Debut QLD
Maddison Levi 20 Debut QLD
Teagan Levi 18 Debut QLD
Faith Nathan 21 Debut NSW
Sariah Paki 20 Debut NSW
Jesse Southwell 17 Debut NSW
Sharni Williams OAM 34 2nd Games (2018 - Silver: Women's Rugby 7s) NSW

Australian Men’s Rugby 7s Team – Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:

NAME AGE COMMONWEALTH GAMES STATE
Ben Dowling 20 Debut NSW
Matthew Gonzalez 28 Debut NSW
Henry Hutchison 25 Debut NSW
Samuela Kerevi 28 Debut QLD
Nathan Lawson 23 Debut NSW
Maurice Longbottom 27 2nd (2018 - 5th: Men's Rugby 7s) NSW
Nick Malouf 29 Debut QLD
Benn Marr 24 Debut NSW
Mark Nawaqanitawase 21 Debut NSW
Henry Paterson 25 Debut NSW
Dietrich Roache 20 Debut NSW
Corey Toole 22 Debut ACT
Joshua Turner 26 Debut NSW

With its fast-paced, unpredictable nature, rugby 7s has been one of the most popular team sports at the Commonwealth Games since it was first played in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

As the name suggests, there are seven players per team, with up to five substitutes available during a game.

Rugby 7s made its debut at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur when team sports first appeared at the Commonwealth Games.

A women’s tournament was held for the first time at Gold Coast 2018, with the Australian women’s side winning silver after going down to New Zealand in the gold medal match.

Fiji’s men’s team enter the Birmingham 2022 tournament as back-to-back Olympic champions; however, they have never won Commonwealth Games gold.

 

Commonwealth Games rugby 7s medals summary by nation:

NATION GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
New Zealand 6 1 0 7
South Africa 1 0 2 3
Fiji 0 3 1 4
Australia 0 2 2 4
England 0 1 2 3

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August with the Rugby 7s competitions to be conducted from Friday 29 July through to Sunday 31 July at Coventry Stadium.

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