Australia Sevens confident of defending Olympic title

By Michael Hudson

Australia Sevens head coach John Manenti says the team will be ready to defend Olympic title in Tokyo next year.

The Aussies, gold medallists at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, confirmed their place in the Olympics after the final leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Biarritz, France, finishing fourth in the standings.

They lost in the quarter-final to ninth placed Spain but France, who were also competing for fourth spot, under-performed on home soil. Manenti said things didn’t go the way they wanted to at the Biarritz Sevens and also praised the character the team has shown during the world series campaign.

“This team has shown real character and grown since we started the series,” Manenti was quoted as saying by Fox Sports. “We know how hard the next year will be and the work we will have to put in to get the results we desire.

“We will be ready for that and every player and staff member is looking forward to adding to the next chapter.”

Team captain Sharni Williams said the team had something to prove in Biarritz and they deservedly finished fourth and earned their Olympic qualification.

“Coming over the top of France, we had something to prove,” she said. “Obviously after qualifying for the Olympics, we had to stamp our foot and say we deserved that fourth position.”

Australia have a long way to go if they are to repeat their Rio gold heroics in Tokyo. The team have only have two silvers and a bronze from six world series tournaments this year although they had battled without some of their biggest stars for a majority of the season.

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