Rugby Sevens Singapore: Tahs youngster set for debut, Hoops out to impress, new skipper to lead Aussie women


So much rugby, so little time. Not just the Super Rugby Pacific but the U20s Rugby Championship starts on Thursday. Amid that rugby overdose, it’s not suprising that the next round of the World Rugby HSBC SVNS Series in Singapore has come around with little fanfare.

So here is a quick hit before the first game, when the women take on Brazil on Friday 2.50pm AEST.

The tournament is in Singapore so a pretty good time zone to grab a game or three.

Some context. It is the sixth and last tournament of the SVNS Series before heading onto Madrid on 31 May for the winner-takes-all grand finale. The top eight teams at the end of the Singapore tournament play off for the overall SVNS Series title. (The bottom four take on the top four from the Challenger Series to see which four qualify for next season’s SVNS Series.)

For the Australian Sevens teams there are more than a few things to check out, especially with the women’s team.

Australian Sevens – Men

Catching up with Teddy Wilson before his debut at @sgrugby7s this weekend ????#Aussie7s #HSBCSVNS

— Australia Sevens (@Aussie7s) May 2, 2024

The Aussie men are sixth in the standings which is okay but not great. The men need to lock in some consistency. In saying that, the men’s series is highly competitive.

For the Waratahs supporters, the highlight will be seeing Teddy Wilson debut. He has not, for some reason, received much game time with the Tahs. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he will go alright in Sevens.

The men will have more than a challenge with both Argentina, winners of three tournaments so far, and New Zealand, winners in Hong Kong, in their pool. Add to that their number one playmaker and star Maurice Longbottom is out. On the flip side, we get to see where Michael Hooper is up to in his transition to Sevens. In Hong Kong, he did pretty well for his debut but I still think it will be a challenge for him to squeeze into the Olympics squad. There are not many spots available.

Michael Hooper. (Photo: World Rugby)

Keep an eye out for Michael Icely, he has been in and around the Sevens program for a couple of years but he looked pretty good in Hong Kong. And for some trivia, he also took out the Shute Shield’s Ken Catchpole Medal last season.

Australian Sevens – Women

The women’s squad is so very, very different. No Charlotte Caslick, that’s happened before, no Sharni Smale, that’s happened before too. But no Caslick and no Smale, now that hasn’t happened in a long, long time. Smale has just had her gall bladder out and Caslick has a few niggles the team are managing so she is ready for Madrid and the Olympics; coach Tim Walsh referred to it as rehab and prehab.

So for this tournament, we have a new captain with 23-year-old Manly Mermaid Madison Ashby taking the reins. In reality, she has always come across as a captain in waiting. Like Caslick she is mighty focussed and competitive. Without any research, over the last eight years I can only recall Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Charlotte Caslick and Demi Hayes having skippered the side (although I think Emilee Cherry may have captained at some stage).

Ashby will be in for a challenge and a half. Not only is the squad missing two of the most experienced players it is also missing Bienne Terita and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea. Those two players in particular allow the women more opportunities and variety to play through the middle, not just side to side.

But back in the side is Lily Dick who with Bella Nasser will bring some much-needed physicality.

The squad again has a couple of less experienced players in Bridget Clark, Ruby Nicholas and Sidney Taylor who will have the opportunity to step up and show their wares.

The women should top their pool but it is still an interesting one with Brazil, Fiji and Great Britain. None of which would be classified as easy contests – the Aussie women only just beat Fiji in Hong Kong and did lose to Great Britain in Perth.

Charlotte Caslick is out for Singapore Sevens. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

So the Aussie women will be a fascinating watch this weekend.

It is definitely not Singapore sling weather in Sydney, so maybe tune into the Singapore Sevens with a hot chocolate or a whisky.

By the way, the Kiwis are the favourites to win the tournament. The NZ women are on a huge run having won the last three tournaments and the Kiwi men have turned their season around taking out Hong Kong.

Dates and times to add to the calendar

Pool C
Friday, May 3
Australia v Brazil – 2:50pm (AEST)
Australia v Great Britain – 8:05pm (AEST)

Saturday, May 4
Australia v Fiji – 2:50pm (AEST)

Pool A
Friday, May 3
Australia v Argentina – 4:42pm (AEST)
Australia v Canada – 10:14pm (AEST)

Saturday, May 4
Australia v New Zealand – 5:12pm (AEST)

Australia Women’s Sevens team for Singapore SVNS
1. Lily Dick
3. Faith Nathan
4. Dominique Du Toit
5. Teagan Levi
6. Madison Ashby (c)
8. Kaitlin Shave
9. Tia Hinds
10. Bella Nasser
12. Maddison Levi
14. Bridget Clark
23. Ruby Nicholas
65. Sariah Paki
98. Sidney Taylor

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Australia Men’s Sevens team for Singapore SVNS
1. Henry Hutchison
2. Ben Dowling
3. Henry Palmer
4. Dietrich Roache
6. Henry Paterson
10. Nick Malouf (c)
12. Nathan Lawson
14. James Turner
18. James McGregor
25. Hayden Sargeant
30. Teddy Wilson
77. Michael Hooper
87. Michael Icely

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