Australia’s back to back hunt for the gold medal in the Olympic Games will be given a big boost after they were given the green light to play a tune up series against New Zealand.
John Manenti was extremely happy with the news that the trans-Tasman travel bubble had made the sought after tune up series possible.
The defending gold medalists from the Rio Olympics in 2016 will be going head to head with their rivals and Tokyo Olympic favorites in Auckland for over six games this may.
The high-quality matches will be executed in a nearly tournament condition to help the teams compete and gain their game play sharpness back as they prepare through the Aon University Sevens Series.
Twelve players are set to play across the six teams involved this Saturday and Sunday in the latest Aon tournament at Forshaw Rugby Park, in Sydney’s south.
“The NZ series is great news. We’ll play two games a day for three days to replicate the Olympic format,” Manenti said.
“We probably had four changes of dates with the NZ series but we are all locked in now.
“We’re grateful. We’ve been forced to be quite adaptable over the past year and we know whatever situation we’ve been in some Olympic sevens teams like Team GB have struggled to get camps together at all.
“We are getting closer to having our whole squad in training. Ellia Green and Chloe Dalton are both coming back from injury and Auckland is in range for them.
“We’ll take 15-to-18 girls to Auckland because we all need to compete under pressure at international level again. It’s ideal with the Olympics coming up (in July-August).”
“We’ve had three rounds of internal trials but when we line up against each other we instantly know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the plays,” Manenti said.
“The Sydney Sevens in February last year was the last international tournament we played so to have girls playing the Aon series against different players has been a real benefit.
“For example, Demi Hayes and Lily Dick had their injury problems last year. With consistent training blocks behind them now, it’s really pleasing to see them play some positive rugby in the Aon series.”
2021 Aon University Sevens (Final Round 1)
Saturday-Sunday at Forshaw Park, Sylvania Waters (Sydney)
University of Queensland: Sharni Williams and Georgia Hannaway
Bond University: Shannon Parry and Vani Pelite
Griffith University: Demi Hayes and Lily Dick
University of Newcastle: Faith Nathan and Madison Higgins-Ashby
University of Technology, Sydney: Sariah Paki and Bienne Terita
Sydney University: Cassie Staples and Tia Hinds