Hoops misses world series sevens finale in major blow to Olympic hopes, Caslick boost for women


Michael Hooper’s Olympic dreams appear in tatters after the former Wallabies captain was omitted from the rugby sevens world series finale in Madrid.

After featuring in the Singapore and Hong Kong legs for Australia, an injured Hooper was one of four team changes for the Madrid “grand final” from May 31.

Coach John Manenti welcomed back Tim Clements, Josh Turner, Dally Bird and Matt Gonzalez to the squad as James McGregor, Teddy Wilson and Henry Palmer also dropped out along with Hooper.

The champion flanker’s omission is the second big setback in as many years after Hooper also missed selection in Australia’s 2023 Rugby World Cup, also in France.

After retiring from the 15-man game following his World Cup snubbing, the 32-year-old now faces a race against the clock to convince Manenti he’s worthy of an Olympics spot.

Your teams for the GF ????#Aussie7s #HSBCSVNS pic.twitter.com/5w87RisKsx

— Australia Sevens (@Aussie7s) May 23, 2024

Sevens star Maurice Longbottom remains in rehabilitation as he continues to make his way back from injury in the hope of making it to Paris.

Manenti’s side finished fourth in the world series rankings to qualify for the Madrid showpiece ahead of the August Games.

“We head into the world series final excited about the new format and our first trip to Madrid,” Manenti said.

“The team has prepared well and are keen to have a crack at the best teams on the circuit.

“Our pool is as tough as ever with league champions Argentina, France and Great Britain.”

Sevens legend Charlotte Caslick headlines a host of stars set to return to the Australian women’s team after missing the Singapore round with niggling injuries.

Caslick’s comeback is a major boost for Tim Walsh’s side following season-ending knee injuries to Madison Ashby and Lily Dick in Singapore. Young gun Bienne Terita has also been included after missing the last tournament through injury while Sharni Smale remains sidelined following surgery.

The Australians finished second in the league following the regular season with the grand final a showcase event and final major tournament leading into the Olympics.

Charlotte Caslick of Australia runs in for a try during the 2024 Perth SVNS. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“The journey continues and the enjoyment we derive from having a real purpose keeps us thriving,” Walsh said. “Madrid serves up another opportunity to perform, learn and prepare ourselves against the world’s best.

“The prospect of a shootout with the top-eight teams in the world provides prestige and an excitement never experienced before.” The women kick off against Ireland before clashes with Fiji and France in Pool Championship B.

Australian women’s team: Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Teagan Levi, Charlotte Caslick (capt), Kaitlin Shave, Tia Hinds, Bella Nasser, Maddison Levi, Bridget Clark, Bienne Terita, Ruby Nicholas, Sariah Paki, Sidney Taylor.

Australia men’s team: Henry Hutchison, Ben Dowling, Dietrich Roache, Tim Clements, Henry Paterson, Josh Turner, Dally Bird, Matt Gonzalez, Nick Malouf (capt), Nathan Lawson, James Turner, Hayden Sargeant, Michael Icely.

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