Aussies depleted for World Series decider
AUSTRALIA will be without three of their best as the side attempts to hold off fast-finishing New Zealand in the women's rugby sevens world series finale in Paris later this week.
Injured Olympic gold medallists Sharni Williams (ankle), Ellia Green and Alicia Quirk (knee) will miss the tournament, where Australia will start with a four-point series lead.
Charlotte Caslick will assume the co-captaincy alongside Shannon Parry in Williams' absence and much will be asked of experienced pair Emma Tonegato and Emilee Cherry by newly installed coach John Manenti.
Australia won the first two legs of the World Series and looked unstoppable when they cruised through the Sydney tournament without conceding a point in January.
But momentum has swung dramatically since then, with the Kiwis winning the past two legs and their most recent clash with Australia 46-0 to claim the honours in Canada.
That result put the defending world champions within four points of top spot, but Australia can hang on just by making the final in Paris.
That will be a battle in itself though, with Australia to face danger sides Fiji, Russia and Canada in their pool.
"The ball is in our court now to finish the year strongly," Manenti, who was upgraded from interim to full-time coach last Friday, said.
"We know the challenge and we know the opposition. We have a tough pool … our first goal is to get through the pool in good shape and then we will take it from there."
The event starts on Friday.
PARIS SQUAD: Shannon Parry (co-captain, 27 caps), Yasmin Meakes (2 caps), Demi Hayes (6 caps), Dominique Du Toit (9 caps), Emma Tonegato (21 caps), Evania Pelite (17 caps), Charlotte Caslick (co-captain, 25 caps), Page McGregor (2 caps), Emma Sykes (9 caps), Lauren Brown (2 caps), Emilee Cherry (28 caps), Cassandra Staples (6 caps), Georgina Friedrichs (10 caps).