Du Toit to debut in Atlanta

7 April 2016

RUGBY SEVENS: Qantas Australian Women's Sevens young gun Dominique du Toit will make her World Series debut at the Atlanta Sevens next weekend (9-10 April).

The 18-year-old Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist also represented her country at last July's Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

The 12-strong squad chosen by Head Coach Tim Walsh to travel to the United States is also notable for three players returning to the World Series circuit after recovering from long-term injuries. Tiana Penitani and Chloe Dalton are back in the fold after knee and arm injuries respectively while ball player Brooke Walker returns following a leg injury.

Shannon Parry will continue to deputise as skipper in the absence of the injured Sharni Williams (knee). Gemma Etheridge (knee), Ellia Green (shoulder) and Brooke Anderson (leg) also miss out.

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens Head Coach Tim Walsh said: "Dom [du Toit] is a player I believe has a big future in the game. Everyone enjoyed watching her pace in the Youth Olympics in Nanjing and she showed how much her game had evolved during the Comm Youth Games in Samoa last September, particularly her defensive side. She's an exciting prospect and one to keep an eye on.

"Even though we have shown character to win the two legs so far this season, it's fair to say we have faced challenges. We haven't had the luxury of having 12 fit players for a Finals Day yet so I'm hoping our luck changes on that front. That said, it just shows the quality in depth we need if we are to keep performing to the level we want during each tournament."

On the draw for Atlanta, Walsh added: "I've probably not seen a tougher World Series pool yet this season. England will likely try and unsettle us up front while Fiji have showed enough quality this season to suggest they are not far away from challenging at the business end of World Series tournaments. Colombia will present a different type of challenge given we know little about them so we'll have to be mentally prepared for that fixture."

Despite winning tournaments in Asia, Europe and South Africa since taking charge in September 2013, Walsh is yet to lead Australia to a Cup Final in North America. "Our record over there is not something we have discussed. For us, it's all about sticking to our principles and ensuring we have the right attitude to execute under pressure. The results will then take care of itself."

Australia currently lead the 2015-16 Women's World Series after two rounds (40 points), securing maximum points from the rounds in Dubai and Sao Paulo. New Zealand and Canada are tied for second spot (28 points).

Following the Atlanta Sevens, the series heads north to Langford in Canada before the season concludes in Clermont-Ferrand, France at the end of May.

Fans will be able to stream the action from Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw State University in Atlanta via worldrugby.org. FOX SPORTS will broadcast the Plate Final, 3rd Place Play-Off and Cup Final.

Qantas Australian Women's Sevens fixtures for the Atlanta Sevens at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, Atlanta, 9-10 April:
Australia v England, Pool A, 3.14am AEST
Australia v Colombia, Pool A, 5.58am AEST
Australia v Fiji, Pool A, 8.42am AEST

Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens squad for the Atlanta Sevens at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, Atlanta, 9-10 April:
Shannon Parry, Tiana Penitani, Dominique du Toit, Brooke Walker, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Amy Turner, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Mahalia Murphy.

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