Sharni Williams to lead youthful Aussie 7s squad

Sharni Williams will lead a very young Australian Women’s Sevens side into the 2021/22 World Rugby Sevens Series that kicks off in Dubai later this month. Photo: Rugby AU.

Batlow product Sharni Williams has been named in a 16-strong Australian Women’s sevens squad ahead of the 2021/22 World Rugby Sevens Series that kicks off in Dubai later this month. 

Williams, who is captain of the young side that boasts nine players under the age of 21 and five debutants, is the most capped player in the side, having played 35 games for her country.

Australia’s youthful outlook follows the squad’s disappointing quarter-final exit at the hands of Fiji at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, and Australian Sevens Performance Manager Scott Bowen hinted selectors had an eye towards future tournaments when picking this side.

“Firstly, we’re incredibly grateful to be able to represent Australia again on the World Series, and it’s something which isn’t lost on the squads,” Bowen said.

“We’ve been building a lot of depth in our program for a number of years now through our pathway programs, so the newly contracted sides very much represent a reset as we turn our attention not only to the World Series but also Birmingham in 2022 and Paris in 2024. 

“We have a total of eight uncapped players across the program, as well as a strong group of younger players on development contracts who are pushing into the main squads. 

“While we’ve lost a lot of our players, who joined the program back in 2014 when we centralised, I have every confidence in the new group we have assembled and am looking forward to seeing them write the next chapter.”

The squad will travel to Dubai for the first two legs of the Series on November 26/27 and December 3/4 before heading to Spain in January 2022.

The Australian women’s side will take on Olympic finalists France, Fiji, Canada and Brazil.

World Rugby Sevens draw

Round 1: Dubai – November 26/27.

Round 2: Dubai – December 3/4.

Round 3: Malaga – January 21-23.

Round 4: Seville – January 28-30.

Round 5: Langford – April 20/May 1.Round 6: Toulouse – May 20-22.