Australian Women's Rugby Sevens squad heads to Bathurst

Bathurst's Jakiya Whitfield will join other members of the Australian Women's Rugby Sevens squad in a training session at Ashwood Park next Tuesday. Photo: Chris Seabrook
Bathurst's Jakiya Whitfield will join other members of the Australian Women's Rugby Sevens squad in a training session at Ashwood Park next Tuesday. Photo: Chris Seabrook

From Australia to Tokyo via Bathurst - the Australian Women's Rugby Sevens team will incorporate a visit to the Central West next week as part of their preparations for next year's Olympic Games.

While the postponement of the Tokyo Games to July-August 2021, as well as the cancellation of international and domestic competitions due to COVID-19, have made this year tough for the Australian squad and staff, they have nonetheless continued to train.

And as a way to break up the regular routine of training, Australian Women's Sevens coach John Manenti has decided to venture to the Central West with his squad.

They will be put through their paces at Bathurst's Ashwood Park next Tuesday from 9.30am and members of the public are welcome to come and watch on the proviso they adhere to social distancing measures.

A session in Orange will follow on Wednesday.

Though two members of the squad who won gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics - Charlotte Caslick and Ellia Green - will not make the trip given their NRLW commitments, there will still be familiar names working on their skills at Bathurst.

Emilee Cherry, Emma Tonegato, Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry are amongst those expected to make the trip, while Bathurst rugby 7s star Jakiya Whitfield will also train with the squad.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Panuara-born Wallaroos skipper Grace Hamilton is amongst those leading Australian rugby union talents who will be part of the 2020 NRLW competition.

With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of the Super Ws finals, the AON Uni 7s competition and Test matches the Wallaroos had planned to play against New Zealand and Canada, it has been a tough year for the star back rower.

But by switching codes to play in the NRLW as part of the Sydney Roosters' squad, Hamilton will get some important match fitness.

Among those also named in the 22-player Roosters squad are Orange league products Vanessa Foliaki and Kaitlyn Phillips.

"It's exciting that our squad has assembled. We've been working hard, and we're looking forward to getting our connection and combinations strong in lead-up to the competition kicking off next week," Roosters head coach Jamie Feeney said.

This story Australian Women's Rugby Sevens squad head west first appeared on Western Advocate.