John Manenti the head coach of the Australia women’s sevens team that is headed to Tokyo to defend their Olympic gold medal has just made the biggest decision for his squad. Manenti has decided to leave Australian supersta Ellia Green out of his 12 woman squad and says its the “toughest call of his career”.
The news of Green missing out on the Olympic Games because of just selection and not injury has sent shockwaves around the rugby community. The try scoring machine and Olympic gold medalist will be a face we will not be used to not seeing in the Australian squad.
Green went on to social media to tell fans how she feels about the decision.
“The past few days have been pretty long and dark since being told I haven’t been selected for the Tokyo Olympics. This is the reality of sport, it can make you feel like your on top of the world and it can also make you feel lower than the ground. Thankyou for the messages and support from everyone. I am not currently injured, I just didn’t get selected and I accept that.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has played a part in my journey and supported me in this game ❤️ Goodluck to all the athletes competing in Tokyo, you have my love and support, I hope you all stay safe in these crazy pandemic times” – Instagram @elliagreen
Green is the kind of player where if Australia needs a miracle, they just give the ball to the speedster and wait for her to do her magic.
But Manenti says the decision to leave such an impact player is purely because she wasn’t down to “form”.
“Ultimately she’s not in the form we all know of her and want,” Manenti said on Saturday.
“I wanted to give her every chance to produce that form.
“She’s come off a long lay-off with her knee that we tried to get right.
“She’s effectively fit to play in the sense that it’s not an injury that’s ruled her out, but she’s just now where she needs to be and to be fair on her and the squad … form dominates the selection criteria.
“It’s the hardest conversation I’ve ever had to have with someone around selections and it was really difficult because I’m really close with her and I would have loved nothing more than to select her, but her form’s just letting her down.
“She just can’t run as quick as she once could. Ultimately that’s her weapon and strength are her X-factors and she just wasn’t producing that with any consistency.”
Green is Australia’s highest tryscorer with an outstanding 141 points in history and fourth greatest in the game’s history.
With Green out of the starting 12, she can still make the reserves as both Manenti and Walsh have yet to name their reserves.
“2016 was a sensational team and I think the current New Zealand team is as strong,” he said.
“We’ve got some challenges ahead of us, but we’re picking a team to go there and do really well and medal and hopefully that color is gold.
“We have to be better than we’ve been if we’re going to do that.
“Playing New Zealand in the last few months has given us that exposure against one of the dominant teams in the world and even though it hasn’t gone fantastically well, we’ve learnt a lot, we’ve got better and it will put us in great stead for the tournament.
“We know sevens tournaments are funny beasts, you can get momentum and roll and what has happened over the last month or years means little. We know we’re tracking well.”
Only Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite and Charlotte Caslick are the survivors from the Rio Olympic gold medal squad.
Tim Walsh who coached the girls back in 2016 for the first ever rugby gold medal is now the men’s sevens head coach.